The House of Representatives has invited the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) toward protecting the rights of late Ilerioluwa Aloba, aka Mohbad’s songs and lyrics.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos) at the resumed plenary in Abuja on Tuesday.
Moving the motion, Benson said Mohbad tragically passed away under mysterious circumstances on September 12.
He said his name had continued to make headlines and dominate discussions across and beyond the nation.
He said there had been protests and a procession of youths chanting his name and the call for an investigation as they marched to a tribute concert, with numerous musicians in attendance.
He said it was evident that Mohbad’s fans were struggling to come to terms with his untimely demise, adding that Mohbad also known as Imole, “light” in Yoruba, was an artist who sang of peace and light.
He said Mohbad left his record label, Marlian Records, owned by Azeez Fashola (Naira Marley) in 2022, citing various grievances, including unpaid royalties.
He said the issue was indicative of a broader problem in which artists encountered challenges asserting their rights.
He said this suggested that a disturbing industry practice had come to the fore, adding that evidence of mistreatment highlighted the struggle of young artists in the country.
He said in their quest for success, they become entangled in parasitic contracts and face bullying when they sought to exit these agreements.
He said Mohbad’s case was not an isolated one, as many artists in Nigeria found themselves ensnared in unfavourable contractual agreements.
This he said limited their creative freedom and financial growth, saying the situation can lead to disputes and at times, even violence.
He said the Nigerian music industry lacked substantial institutional funding, pushing many artists into unscrupulous contracts with record labels.
He said addressing the issue was vital for the industry’s growth and sustainability.
The lawmaker said he was disturbed that most of the proceeds of the late artist were going to the Marlian Music Group.
He added that there had been no move from any agency to protect the estate of the late singer who was the 46th best-selling digital artiste in the world.
The House observed a minute of silence in honour of Mohbad and called for the protection of the rights of young promising artists in contracts with their record labels.
It called for monitoring of the ongoing investigation on Mohbad’s death, particularly the allegations of harassment and unpaid royalties.
The House urged NCC to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including record labels, artists, legal experts, and industry associations, to develop and implement industry-wide guidelines.
The guidelines should ensure fair treatment, transparent contractual agreements, and proper compensation for artists, reviewing existing copyright and contract laws in Nigeria, identifying gaps or areas in need of reform.
The House also mandated its Committee on Justice and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.