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Nigeria singer Onwenu on Network Africa
"It's a criminal offence to pirate and infringe on copyright"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Nigerian singer's hunger strike over
Onyeka Onwenu, Nigerian singer
Her protest has won her admirers in the music industry
The Nigerian singer who has been on hunger strike for six days has called off her action.

Onyeka Onwenu, who is also a well known actress protested in front of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) offices on Victoria Island, claiming that they had refused to pay royalties on her songs.

Onwenu ended her action on Tuesday after entering into an arrangement with NTA to pay her royalties.


I was fighting not just for Nigerian musicians, but artists in general

Onyeka Onwenu

Details of the arrangement between the singer and NTA remain unclear.

Her lawyers say she was claiming the equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid royalties and damages.

Widespread support

NTA had argued that the pop singer only made an appearance and that a straight fee was paid, therefore they did not owe her anything.

Onyeka Onwenu's protest has attracted widespread support from other Nigerian musicians, who often complain that they do not receive royalties when their songs are broadcast on television and radio.

She told the BBC that musicians in the country had fully supported her course and warned that unless NTA settled the royalties issue amicably "they will have a bad situation on their hands".

Weight loss

During the hunger strike, Onwenu survived on fruit juice and a few vitamin pills prescribed by her doctor.

The pop singer says she had not realised just how much weight she had put on until she went on hunger strike.

However she said going on a hunger strike was not "a wise way to lose weight".

Onwenu says her action should serve as a lesson to other radio stations which have been abusing artists' copyright.

Artists say that if royalties are not paid in a poor country like Nigeria, it will become impossible to attract new talent into the arts.

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See also:

12 Jan 00 | Africa
Ivorian reggae star supports coup
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Hope for SA's township musicians
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