Mr Adedayo Thomas, the Executive Director of National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), on Monday, said the board was set to seize foreign films sold in the Nigerian market.
Thomas describing the foreign films as “unclassified and unlicensed products’’.
Thomas said this while addressing officers of the board in Benin at a capacity building workshop for members of staff of NFVCB South-South Zone.
The workshop with the theme: “Film and Video Works in the New Horizon”, is holding from April 29 to April 30, with stakeholders from the academia and industry practitioners as resource persons to train participants.
According to the Chief Executive, all foreign films in DVDs, CDs and other such means, sold across Nigeria are illegal since they were not licensed by the board.
He said that popular Mexican and Zee World Soaps, which had flooded local stations in recent times, were unlicensed and unclassified by the board as well.
“We are set to begin nationwide raid on foreign films that have found their way illegally into the Nigerian market at the expense of our local films.
“Apart from the ones we have in the cinemas, which are licensed by the board, other foreign films available in the market are illegal.
“Licensing and classification of imported films/video works is part of the board’s mandate, and any foreign film that has to be sold in the country or aired on our local stations needs its approval.
“First, you must show to the board that there is a proper collection of copyright from the owner of the foreign film from the originating country.
“Besides, such films must be sent to us for rating in order to ascertain whether it connotes the Nigeria’s code and classification,” he said.
The executive director said that although the board was not shutting out on foreign films and video works, protecting local content was crucial in its operations.
He therefore urged all film stakeholders operating in the country to ensure total compliance with the board’s regulations to avoid legal actions.
Thomas said that NFVCB was working toward collaborating with sister agencies to successfully curb the proliferation of local market with imported films.
“Our local films and video works that are licensed and classified should be encouraged to be distributed without hurdles.
“Even video musicals, no matter how small, are not supposed to be aired on our local TV stations, without proper rating and permission from the board.”
Thomas said that the board had articulated an integrated public enlightenment strategy aimed at raising awareness of consumers, filmmakers and other stakeholders in the industry.
He said that the empowerment programme was part of effort by the board to reposition itself to effectively tackle emerging trends in film classification.
“The NFVCB is serving the largest film industry in Africa, which is growing rapidly, therefore its workforce needs training and re-training on new trends.
“Beside the technical know-how, there is also the public and stakeholders relation aspect of our job, and we have relevant experts here to address that as well in this training programme,” he said.
NAN reports that the NFVCB, established in 1993, is a Federal Government body that regulates the films and video industry in Nigeria.
The Board is empowered by law to classify all films and videos whether imported or produced locally.
It is also the duty of the board to register all films and videos outlet, including cinemas, across the country and to keep a register of such registered outlets among other functions.