‘She must be obeyed’: Nigerian singer sues Funke Akindele, others over alleged copyright infringement

NIGERIAN singer Ewaoluwa Olatunji Nicole (Ewa Cole) has sued popular actress and filmmaker Funke Akindele and nine others for alleged copyright infringement.

Joining Akindele in the suit are her ex-husband Bello Abdulrasheed (JJC), SceneOne Productions Records International Limited, Tony Ugiabe (Topage) and Singer Ituaje Aina Vivian Ebele Iruobe (Waje).

Others are a former Big Brother housemate, Victoria Adeleye (Veeiye), Amazon Web Services Nigeria Limited, Amazon Web Services INC, Transsnet Music Nigeria Limited (BoomPlay Music) and Apple INC.

A representative of Akindele told The ICIR that the accusations are false and they will be present in court.

According to the certified true copy of the writ of summons dated January 15, 2024, from the Federal High Court, Lagos, the case was filed on behalf of the plaintiff by the law firm of Adelewa Williams & Partners- Inspire Law Practice.

The litigation bothers on the alleged use of Ewa Cole’s songs ‘Bad Gyal’ and ‘Opoor’ in a TV series titled ‘She Must Be Obeyed’ owned by Akindele, and produced by Scene One Productions without compensation and due recognition to the complaint.

Nigerian actress, Funke Akindele
Nigerian actress Funke Akindele

Ewa Cole alleged she was engaged to compose the songs when Akindele was planning to produce the movie but later rejected her work and used it without her permission – a claim denied by SceneOne Production.

Responding to the allegation on Thursday, February 1, Demilade Olaosun, a representative of Scene One Productions, who spoke on behalf of Akindele, denied the allegation and others by Ewa Cole.

Olaosun said there was no agreement of any form with the plaintiff.

‘We state very categorically and without any fear of contradiction that at no time did Scene One Production (SOP) engage Ewaoluwa Olatunji Nicole to write any songs for our movie, and neither did we know of her alleged existence until November 2023, almost a month after we had released the movie on Amazon. 

“Scene One Productions has been falsely accused of theft and intellectual property infringement, and our reputation has been greatly maligned before our third-party partners and members of the public who have dealt with us based on the high-level standard of practice that we have striven to build over a decade of existence.

 “It is for this reason that we intend to present ourselves before the court of law that she has filed with to defend our honour, state our side of the story, with the firm conviction that the law will right this wrong, ” Olaosun stated.

Speaking further with The ICIR, Olaosun confirmed knowlege of the court case and would no longer discuss the subject because it would amount to subjudice.

Meanwhile, in the court document sighted by The ICIR, Ewa Cole is, among others, demanding a declaration that she is the owner, author and creator of the songs “Bhad Gyal” and “OPOOR”, which, according to her, were reproduced in the musical comedy-drama “She Must Be Obeyed” released in September 2023.

She is also demanding, among others, that the court declare the alleged use of the works as wrongful, condemnable, an infringement of her copyrights, and intellectual theft.

    She also is askinf that “the use of the term ‘Bhad Gyal featuring Waje’ and ‘OPOOR featuring Veelye’ as described and captured on the 9th and 10th defendants’ BoomPlay and Apple Music, respectively, and other media platforms with the view to give the false impression to the public that the 5th and 6th defendants are the authors, composers, creator and copyright owners of the songs and not the plaintiff,” be declared illegal.

    She also sought N300 million as damages, 45 of total profits made from from the use of the work, N10 million as cost of legal fees and 35 per cent interest monthly on the judgment sum until full and final payment is being liquidated, among other requests. 


    Singer Ewaoluwa Olatunji (Ewa Cole)
    Singer Ewaoluwa Olatunji (Ewa Cole) Image courtesy GWR

    According to The Guinness World Record, Ewa Cole holds the record for the longest marathon while singing Christmas tunes.

    To become the first holder of this record, Ewa sang for 31 hours straight on December 27 and 28.

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