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We have no plan to stifle Nollywood – Lai Mohammed

By Emmanuel Elebeke
Federal Government has distanced itself from the controversy trailing the Motion Pictures Council of Nigeria, saying that it has no hidden agenda to stifle the industry.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the confession on Monday, when he received the report of the Review Committee of the Motion Picture Council of Nigeria (MOPICON), in Abuja.

The Minister, who was reacting to the debate that ensued among the stakeholders in the aftermath of the inauguration of the Review Committee, said it was wrong for some people to argued that the government has no business in helping Nollywood to set up a self-regulatory structure.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and Artistic Director of the National Troupe Akin Adejuwon in a group photograph with members of the National Troupe during the Command Performance of "Death and the King's Horseman" in Lagos on Saturday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the award of Nobel Prize to Prof. Wole Soyinka
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and Artistic Director of the National Troupe Akin Adejuwon in a group photograph with members of the National Troupe during the Command Performance of “Death and the King’s Horseman” in Lagos on Saturday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the award of Nobel Prize to Prof. Wole Soyinka

”I have followed the debate that ensued among the stakeholders in the aftermath of the inauguration of the Review Committee. Some argued that the government has no business in helping Nollywood to set up a self-regulatory structure, while others are of the contrary opinion.

‘‘Let me re-state what I said at the inauguration of this committee on April 12th 2016, that in line with our overall responsibility for the nation’s information, culture and tourism policies, our role in helping to set up MOPICON is simply to enable Nollywood to play meaningful role in national development.

”Again, one of the ways we think we can tackle frontally the many challenges militating against professional and career fulfilment in the movie industry is to have a central body we can always refer to in decisions aimed at improving and modernizing the motion picture industry,’’ he said.

It will be recalled that controversy followed the inauguration of the review committee on 12 April 2016, but the Federal Government has maintained that it has no hidden agenda and will not be part of anything that will stifle the growth of the burgeoning industry.

According to Mohammed, government’s interest in the setting up of MOPICON is driven by the fact that it needed to work with a formidable representative group that is empanelled to lobby for the growth, development and welfare of the industry and its practitioners as well as make for a better organised and more visible and vibrant Nollywood industry.

”Let me sincerely thank the members of the committee for their hard work over the past several months. In particular, I commend their selfless service. I sincerely hope that their sacrifice and hard work will yield fruits by leading to the establishment of MOPICON.

”We will critically look at the reviewed draft document, which you have handed over to us, and we will immediately kick-start the process of making MOPICON a reality for the benefit of the movie industry,” the Minister said.

While thanking the committee members for a job well done, the Minister pledged to immediately kick-start the process of making the regulatory body a reality.

Earlier in her address, the Chairperson of the Committee, Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, said members of the committee were unanimous in their decision to support the establishment of MOPICON.

“What we come to understand and appreciate is that a council of some sorts is required in order to make this industry work. How this council will operate, we have advised,” she said.

She said in drafting the report, they have taken into consideration all shades of opinions from the stakeholders in the industry who offered their input on the setting up of MOPICON.

“In this document, we have taken cognisance all the guilds and associations and we have also taken into cognisance all the uproar in the media about the MOPICON and what it stands for and the misconception of what it is,” the committee Chairperson said.

The report submitted to the Minister contained the Review Act, Code of EthicsReview and the Report of the Committee’s Proceedings.


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