‘When did the industry become the problem of bad governance, bad roads…?’
By Benjamin Njoku
Practitioners in the Nigerian movie industry otherwise known as Nollywood have expressed dissatisfaction with the Federal Government’s recent directive urging them to do away with money ritual contents in their movies.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, while on a media visit to Daily Trust office in Abuja, had blamed Nollywood for featuring money rituals in some of its movies, noting that this has negatively influenced the vulnerable youth.
However, speaking separately with NollyNow, on the matter, some of the practitioners also blamed the federal government for the rising cases of ritual killings in the country.
According to them, ritual killings are not the making or creation of filmmakers.
For comrade Alex Eyengho, Board of Trustees Chairman,Association of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCOP), directing filmmakers to stop making films on ritual killings is akin to directing journalists not to write about them in the print and electronic media.
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He posited that instead of issuing this sort of laughable directive, the Federal Government should put machinery in place to clamp down on ritualists, 419ers, scammers (yahoo yahoo and yahoo plus), kidnapping, armed robbery, human trafficking, corruption at all levels and all other criminal activities going on in the country on daily basis.”
“I think it is within the limited knowledge of the Federal Government to issue such directives to “filmmakers to stop making films on ritual killings.” It is preposterous for the government to think of such a thing in the first place. Assuming but without conceding that the government was right in this military-like directive, it is a clear admittance of the failure of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) currently under the leadership of Alhaji Adedayo Thomas in performing its statutory functions as a Federal Government agency in terms of appropriate classifications and censorships of motion picture contents in Nigeria.
“To the best of my knowledge, filmmakers don’t make films to promote rituals. Rather, filmmakers make films to condemn the incessant ritual killings in Nigeria. Ritual killings are not the making or creation of filmmakers. We only bring the sad narrative to the front burner in a manner that would make it serve as a deterrent to those who are bent on engaging in the heinous crime. The Federal Government and National Assembly should stop advertising their crass ignorance in the public space.
“Nollywood is not the same thing as social media. These people up there should not get things twisted with their half-knowledge or total absence of knowledge of what filmmakers really do. Rather than issuing this sort of laughable directive, the Federal Government should put machinery in place to clamp down on ritualists, 419ers, scammers (yahoo yahoo and yahoo plus), kidnapping, armed robbery, human trafficking, corruption at all levels and all other criminal activities going on in our dear country daily.
“However, I can only urge my most Distinguished Creative Colleagues in Nollywood to apply wisdom, professionalism and national interest in the kind of contents they push out there, particularly in terms of the core messages and ultimate resolutions,” Eyengho stated.
On his own, gyration master and former majority leader of Anambra House of Assembly, Tony OneWeek, slammed the government saying “Instead of funding the business, the federal government now wants to gag the writers.”
Also reacting, popular actor and producer, Paul Obazele described the directive as being ‘shameful’ adding “ How about the activities and the extravagant lifestyle of the political class? Nollywood also influenced it?”
According to the notable film director, Lancelot Imasuen, the federal government seems not to be getting its priorities right. He wondered why the government should make such an unwelcomed statement that a particular sector is responsible for the ritualistic practices in the country.
“What are the indices that gave the government that conclusion. Why, how did we get where we are today. When did Nollywood become the problem of bad governance, bad roads and the reason for the economic downturn? The Nigerian film industry has always been portraying what is evidently wrong with the country and proffering solutions. I’m sure there are movies that encourage people to go and take into ritualistic practices to make money. It’s so sad to hear such a thing from the federal government.