Major stakeholders in the Nigerian movie industry, have thrown their weight behind the embattled Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board, NFVCB, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, vowing to resist any attempt to frustrate him out of office.
Adedayo recently appeared at an Abuja Magistrate Court over petition by some staff members of the agency. He was accused of breaking the fence of the zonal office of the agency, stealing a 500KVA power generating set on February 6, 2017, and selling it for N30 million.
Represented by their various associations, the group led by Mr. Ralph Nwadike, President of Association of Movie Producers,AMP, at a press conference held at Ojez, National Stadium, called on the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Grace Isu Gekpe to intervene by bringing the petitioners to book, and allow Alhaji Adedayo Thomas continue his good works. The group vowed to resist any attempt to frustrate Adedayo out of office. Other members of the group were Mr. Tunji Ojetola, Vice president Yoruba Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nugeria (YOFIVPMAN); and Mr. Emeka Aduah, President of Film and Video Producers and Marketers of Nigeria (FVPMAN).
Others are Igwe Gab Okoye, aka Gabosky and Norbert Ajaegbu (Esq), who are members of the NFVCB’s special taskforce against unlicensed and unclassified movies.
According to them, he (Thomas), upon assuming office, “penetrated and orchestrated several raid in the notorious Alaba market,” a move which “did not go down well with certain staff of the Board who openly expressed their resentfulness and even reached out to some members of the industry to express that the new Executive Director is acting against the norms of contracting staff or the Board to carry out the raids.”
They alleged that the aggrieved staff of the board “are used to the corrupt regime of disbursing budgets for raids on paper without any practical raid nor effect on the film market.”
“We must state and affirm that Alhaji Adedayo Thomas proved to us that government agencies can positively affect the industry – an experience we had last when Emeka Mbah left the Board,” they stated. Enumerating some of the impacts the NFVCB boss has had on practitioners in recent times, they said “the Censors Board supports industry festivals and awards, sponsor and involve itself in raids against uncensored and unclassified movies, sponsor stakeholders to international film festivals and brought government closer to practitioners.”Most interesting is that Adebayo Thomas is one such – example of a distinguished administrator set to accomplish such primary purpose.
“We therefore humbly call on the Honourable Minister of Information and Communication to investigate and bring to book, all staff of the Board engaged in the writing of frivolous petitions against Alhaji Adedayo Thomas,” they said, adding that, “Such staff have no reason to remain in the civil service.” Also, they want the Minister to look seriously into circumstances that led to the recent resignation of filmmaker Tunde Kelani as chairman of the Board of NFVCB.
“We also urge the Honourable Minister to dissolve the 52-man board and put in place a sizable board that will have a meaningful deliberation and action plan. We may be forced to seize and stop the censorship of movies if the ungodly politics of these civil servants remain unabated,” they warned.