Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Tuesday gave a recipe for the possible eradication of film piracy in Nigeria, saying a new deal that offers those behind the illicit act an opportunity to earn legitimate income is the solution.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Lagos House, Alausa, while playing host to the Association of Movie Producers of Nigeria, said the only way to solve the problem of piracy in the film industry in the country is to create an enabling environment for those engaged in it andÂ to also overcome their survival problems.
Citing the example of area boys in the state and how the government dealt with the situation successfully, Governor Fashola declared: â€œYou must also understand where these people are coming from. This is a survival challenge. You and I must put on our thinking caps. We must offer them a new deal, a better deal where they could also existâ€.
He told the practitioners, â€œWhat you are facing is not unique to you. Hollywood has faced it. Nollywood is facing it one way or the other. Pirates are everywhere. It is not just enough to say look you are spoiling our product and clamp them in jail; that will be treating the symptom. Donâ€™t look at the problem, look for the solutionâ€.
The Governor called for unity among all the stakeholders in the industry _ the film makers, the artists, the producers, and the distributors _ saying until such a unity is achieved, there would continue to be mutual suspicion and misunderstanding in the industry which, according to him, will stunt its growth.
He said though the pirates are carrying out the activities illegally, they still represent ready distributors for the producers pointing out that the only missing link is the pay back system. â€œThey are already your foot soldiersâ€, he said.
â€œThere must be a unity among stakeholders in this business. You have to find a rallying platform that will provide safe_ground for all interests. There is enough for everybody. Letâ€™s call everybody to the table and say this is the new deal. By persuasion, sheer strength of logic and by the provision of grounds for everybody to participate, you will see that piracy will disappearâ€, the Governor said.
According to him, â€œIt will not eliminate piracy, but it will deal a significant blow on piracy. Who wants to risk being arrested for doing business? I will rather do a legitimate business and make and enjoy my moneyâ€.
Governor Fashola said Government could assist the producers in the use of technology in the production of the CDs adding that by encrypting the CDs, it would be impossible for anyone to copy them. â€œThese are what we can do. I am ready to work with you on this and they will be too glad to sell legitimate copiesâ€ he said.
Thanking the Association for the support it is giving to Government by way of participation in the various advocacy programmes, Governor Fashola urged the Association to lead the vanguard of the advocacy on Climate Change and ways of mitigating the effect in the country.
â€œThe whole world is going through Climate Change. It must not catch us by surprise. You must lead the advocacy through your films to give awareness to the importance of trees, greening, keeping drainages clean, saving power you do not need so that it reduces the amount of diesel and petrol you burnÂ and protect the environment and the Ozone Layerâ€, the Governor said.
He noted that there are so many instances of our country that we tend to overlook adding, â€œwe will not overlook them anymore. We must start the advocacy now as part of the developing global community that is not technologically positioned to deal with this crisis when it comes. But it is comingâ€.
Governor Fashola also enjoined the Association to be the driver of the promotion of the nationâ€™s good values, lamenting, â€œWe have allowed the Western Media to dominate our thinking and they have set us in collision with our own natural being. We must take what is good in the Western values and leave what is badâ€.
â€œIf we had stayed on the traditional value that insisted on the protection and preservation of virginity before marriage, we will not be talking of AIDS in our society today. But those were the values that our forefathers bequeathed to usâ€, he said.
He expressed appreciation to the Association for being ready at all times to support the Government and pledged, â€œAny time you look in our direction, you will see a willing partnerâ€.
Earlier, the National President of the Association, Mr. Paul Obazele had called on the Governor to come to their aid in the fight against Piracy saying it is posing a grat danger to the film producers.
Obazele also expressed the willingness of the association to partner with the State Government in exposing the beauty and potentials of the State to the whole world especially through the AMP Eko International Film Festival.
Also present at the occasion were the Vice President of the Association, Lillian Amah Aluko, the Association Business Committee Chairman, Mr. Fred Amata among other Executive Committee members of the Association.