nollywood actress cossy orjiakorwhose career tanked in 2002 after being accused of sleeping with a dog, seeks justice.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, the 41-year-old movie star alleged that her career took a nosedive in 2002 when a journalist shared images of her allegedly having sex with a dog.
The actress born in the state of Anambra explained that the viral video clip that ended her acting career was a scene from ‘Itohan’, a 2002 film produced by the late Chico Ejiro.
The film highlighted the plight of Nigerians trafficked to other countries and used as sex slaves.
PT: You became famous after appearing as a dancer in Fuji singer Obesere’s videos. Did that start affect your career? Will you dance again?
Cossy: I have a degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria. So dancing was fun and I got paid more than what I earned as a member of the youth corps. It was never a career I chose for myself.
PT: What other movies did you star in before ‘Itohan’?
Cossy: I acted in several movies. I was paid only N30,000 for my role in the movie ‘Itohan’. The producer begged me and I decided to do him a favor by acting for such an abysmal amount. It wasn’t a small amount for a day’s work, but it was better than the N7,500 he earned monthly as a junior corps member.
PT: Were you told about your role in Itohan? Why did you accept the position?
Cossy: I think that a good actress should accept any role and give her best. I wasn’t the first Nollywood actress to star in a movie with a dog. I think Tina Amuziam played a similar role with a dog. I just tried to show my talent and win awards for good acting.
PT: Did they compensate you for the film? How much did they pay you for the role?
Cossy: I was paid 30,000 naira for the part because the producer begged me and I decided to help him.
PT: You said you didn’t sleep with a dog; How did you execute the role?
Cossy: The painted story was that I slept with a dog for 10 bucks. Although I was paid 30,000 naira, my performance was so beautiful that a magazine was launched to talk about my role. I still wonder why I didn’t win awards with all the hype.
The video is on YouTube for all to see.
PT: Why do you only demand justice 20 years after the scandal?
Cossy: Nothing was heard of the matter because the police said they are still investigating. The truth is that I was just a budding actress. When I started my career, I was paid N7,500 just for a role in a movie. Then I progressed to the stage where I started earning N30,000 for my movie roles.
He did not have enough money to pursue the case and could not afford a lawyer. So, like any average person, I reported the matter to the police and so far nothing has been done.
PT: What moves did the police make immediately after your report?
Cossy: I reported the case, but the man was not arrested; They just made fun of me. Everyone believed the story, I was banned from performing and I fled the country; soon after, people started saying that my father had killed me.
My career finally died; that’s what they always wanted.
The controversial scene in Itohan’s film that ended Cossy’s promising acting career in 2002
Sometimes when you draw attention without much effort, you make enemies. People envy you and hate you, so it was a ploy by certain people, but at least I’m alive today.
PT: Why do you think certain people plotted your downfall?
cossy: I don’t know. People were jealous of my career success.
My entry into Nollywood was more or less like a miracle. Within a year, I started making waves and became very famous; this is not common in Nollywood. This did not sit well with so many people.
I began to attract attention and in the process, I had many unknown enemies.
PT: By unknown enemies, do you mean your colleagues in Nollywood?
Cossy: There were a lot of enemies everywhere, even among my colleagues, and I wasn’t raised that way. I was just a poor young up-and-coming actress.
The issue here is that the journalist who pointed me out stains me and ruins me. I want to know who was financing it.
PT: How old were you when the scandal broke?
Cossy: I don’t remember, but I think I was 21 years old.
PT: Why do you think the police have not done much in this case?
Cossy: I don’t know; maybe it was because some influential people were behind my ordeal.
But I think the police are doing a great job lately if someone makes a libelous or defamatory statement online, the police spring into action.
ALSO READ: Bestiality: Nigeria at risk of epidemic outbreak, expert warns
Even the young woman who claimed that she slept with a dog, the police declared wanted.
Police no longer wait to be told before taking action.
PT: How did your family react to the controversy?
Cossy: My late parents gave interviews back then to clarify, but the journalist misrepresented and published the interviews in his Enquirer magazine.
PT: How did the journalist obtain the images he published?
Cossy: I don’t know if he (the journalist) was trying to promote the movie because the viral images were taken on Itohan’s film set. The director and all the other people were ready when the photo was taken.
PT: So you didn’t know that the journalist you claimed took the photos?
Cossy: Actually, I met him in person. She was dating a friend of mine, and she even tried to intervene. He just put the story on the front page of the newspaper. It was so bad that the churches included me in his sermons; They belittled me. Everyone was scared because they thought he had contracted HIV/AIDS. The journalist included in his report that I had contracted the disease. I had to flee for my safety. But, even when I ran away, they contacted my father and told him that I acted in a porn movie. it was so bad
PT: So you didn’t know when the photo was taken?
Cossy: We were filming on set; I did not know, I did not know it
PT: Why do you need justice for a scandal that broke 20 years ago?
Cossy: Do you know what that means? Do you know what I lost then?
I built my career and my future, and it all went down the drain. Everyone stigmatized me.
People said I contracted HIV. I even lost my relationship then; the person I was dating then subjected me to all kinds of shame and medical tests, even when I was innocent and disease-free.
If someone could get a 14-year prison sentence for sleeping with dogs, then there should be a punishment for someone who wrongly accuses a person of bestiality.
I’m not asking for money; all I want is justice.
PT: You have accounts on porn platforms, I-fan and only-fan. Don’t you think this would affect your public perception?
Cossy: I lost my accounts earlier this year; trying to get another. It’s a platform where fans in a tube watch whatever you choose to create. I show my Cossysecret lingerie line to my fans. So they order and also pay to see me model my designs. What I earn is enough to feed me and feel good.
PT: How much do you earn with that?
Cossy: I also have unique videos that one can buy. It is a monthly subscription platform. This is the best I can do after analyzing my source of income for the last 20 years.
PT: Any plans to return to Nollywood?
Cossy: I’m fine. Currently I only have fan and I-fan accounts; these are online platforms where fans subscribe to be entertained.
There’s not much going on in Nollywood these days; Furthermore, in the heart of the scandal, I lost my sense of purpose.
He was traumatized; Who would want to employ a girl who slept with a dog? Even the movie that sparked the controversy was banned. Anyone who featured me in their movie lost money.
PT: Have you considered going behind the camera to produce your films?
Cossy: Yes, I did. But the stigma was still there. No one wanted to feature me in their movies or even mine. This was because people who did it in the past lost all their money.
Nollywood stakeholders held a meeting and then banned me. Movies like ‘Shattered House’ were banned and the producer lost his money, so no one wanted to work with me out of fear.
PT: How did ‘Itohan’s producer, the late Chico Ejiro, react during the scandal?
Cossy: Nobody said a word. I think someone influential must have paid them all to shut up. The only person who supported me was the beautiful actress, Shan George.
PT: In August 2020, you revealed that your German-Nigerian model lover Abel Wilhem was violent towards you. Did you end the relationship? Any regrets?
Cossy: I don’t want to talk about my past relationship.
PT: You said you are a trained accountant. Wouldn’t you like to work in the corporate sector?
Cossy: I’m Cossy; I can’t run after companies that don’t want me. They took away my career and threw me out on the street. And nothing was done about it. So if I build another job, I can still lose it and be thrown out on the streets, so I’m fine with it.