9th June, 2010
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment Highway Limited, also known as Hitv, Toyin Subair, may be jailed for contempt of court if by Monday, he fails to appear before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria.
Trouble started for Subair on 9 March, 2010 when the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria, through their lawyer, D.A. Awosika, filed a N1.2 billion suit against him for allegedly infringing on musical works of some artistes in which the plaintiff has the same copyright as the assignee.
They alleged further that Hitv has been infringing on popular musical works of the following artistes: King Sunny Ade, Wumi Obe, Lagbaja and Adewale Ayuba, in all their cable channels.
Based on their application, the court issued an interim order that the court police should move to the offices of Hitv at 10, Ondo Street, Ebute Metta (West), Lagos and 24, Isaac John Street, GRA, Ikeja and other places where the infringing copies, plates of musical recordings, equipment, machines and appliances used for the infringement of the plaintiffâ€™s copyright items are kept, to inspect, search, take into custody and possession any infringement copies, plates and audio visual recording equipment and machines and appliances used in the infringement of the plaintiffâ€™s copyright, moveable properties or things that may constitute a breach of the court order pending the determination of the case.
However, in an affidavit deposed to by the court bailiffs, they asserted that when they got to the offices of Hitv, the officials of the company did not only instruct their workers not to obey the court order, they were maltreated.
Based on this development, the presiding judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, ordered that Toyin Subair, Hitvâ€™s company secretary and four other officials of the company should appear before the court to show cause why they should not be committed to prison for contempt of court.
On two previous occasions, the company secretary who was heavily pregnant and four othersÂ appeared in court but Subair has refused to show up.
The court has adjourned till 14 June for Subair to appear before it or a bench warrant will be issued against him.