Last Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was hosted at the headquarters of the Copyright Society of Nigeria. During his visit, he was reported to have said that henceforth, government would make sure that whatever was consumed in Nigeria in terms of music must be made in Nigeria. He has since refuted the report which obviously incensed stakeholders in the Nigerian entertainment industry. However, Saturday Beats reached out to industry heavyweights to explain why they shoot videos consumed by Nigerians outside the country and they gave their reasons.
Dele Odule, President Theater Arts and Motion Picture Producer’s Association of Nigeria
Film is make-believe; in fact that is the essence. If we have a scene that needs to be shot abroad, how do you expect us to do it? Are you saying that all those shots would be taken in Nigeria? If you want to convince people and you have the means to travel abroad to do so, why shouldn’t you? If at all we have to do everything here, do we have a film village where a movie set could be constructed, a place we can achieve our desired goal? Do we have a conducive environment to shoot a proper movie? If we want to shoot a scene about a foreign land and we don’t have a film village where a similar set could be constructed, how do we do it? If you have the means, all you need is to travel out of the country and achieve that or else it would not be convincing enough. If we have a conducive environment where a proper movie production can be done in this country, I see no reason why we have to go abroad to shoot movies. They have to create an environment that is conducive for producers to achieve everything that they want to achieve with their movie production.
Saidi Balogun, President, Golden Movie Ambassadors of Nigeria
The government should first make laws against piracy that would protect Nigerians. Americans sell their films in America and they make more money, same with the Indians simply because their intellectual properties are well protected. First, pass hard laws on piracy, give me a structure, then we can talk about scrapping videos shot abroad. So I should not go and shoot abroad so that they can buy it and I would make money but I should shoot in Nigeria where they pirate it and I run at a loss? When they give us a proper structure, the lawmakers pass hard laws against piracy, then I would forget about going to shoot movies abroad because they don’t even understand my language. I have to use them to sell my products in a land that has structures.
Emeka Ike, President Actor Guild of Nigeria
The government has not made any structural arrangement for us. They gave us $3bn grant and we said that we should see how we can use it to build a film village, I said that we should use the money to have a structure that we can all have an office space but they shared the money among individuals. If you release funds to AGN, we would talk about structures because no one can spend such funds without question being asked but when you give the money to an individual, he would do what he wants with the finds. We want to beg the government to look at issues as a patriotic Nigerian so that we can move forward as an industry. They should recognise the entertainment institutions in the industry, encourage and build them. The ideas that PMAN and AGN submitted to the Minister of Information on the creative industry was not implemented. Pretty Okafor of PMAN went to him and gave him a template on how to run the creative industry where biometrics identity cards can pay every musician anywhere you are aired but he abandoned it.
Ruggedman; musician, Chairman Media, PMAN
The Federal Government through its Information Minister should meet with real Nigerian entertainment stakeholders and not people who have milked our entertainers with their platforms. He should meet with the real stakeholders and discuss the way forward. Discuss how the Federal Government can get involved with the Nigerian creative industry the right way. Since we do not have a proper structure yet, you put a hold on your $1m venture capital for the creative industry. You say the money is seed money for young and talented Nigerians to set up businesses in the industry. How do you know the young and talented ones if you do not work with the registered music and movie bodies? You will only be enriching a few and wasting money. So you need to help the existing unions to set up a proper structure that can be monitored before you talk about giving money out. Money is needed, but a structure is needed more urgently. I for one know that the President of the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Mr. Pretty Okafor and the President of the Actors Guild Of Nigeria ( AGN ), Mr. Emeka Ike along with a few executives met with the minister in Abuja and discussed a beautiful plan to put a proper structure in place for Nigeria’s creative industry.
One of the plans that discussed was a conference tagged “Creative Industry Summit” but we are surprised that nobody from the movie or music industry was present to speak at a conference for the “Creative industry”.
UNLIMITED LA, ace music video director
If I want to shoot a music video in a street in Nigeria especially in Lagos State, area boys would not let us be. Nigerian artistes cannot shoot street videos anymore because there is no security. The street urchins believe that we owe them millions of naira. Olamide cannot even shoot a video on the street of Lagos. The number of touts that disturb us while shooting our music videos alone is enough to want to take your ideas abroad. I cannot afford to shoot a street video for A-list artistes like Olamide, Wizkid or Davido simply because there is no security. Recently, I watched online how an actress cried over harassments by these area boys while shooting her movie. Who wants to deal with that problem? If I go to Cape Town in South Africa and shoot on the street, the only thing I need to do is take permission. Once I have been granted permission, everybody there would behave themselves because film making is part of their culture but most of us in this country are not that sensible. There are locations outside Nigeria that are way better than most sites we have here. However, I am not failing to acknowledge that Nigeria is blessed with beautiful scenery. We have lovely locations in Nigeria but there are no roads leading to them or even electric power supply. Imagine I went to Taraba State and noticed that they have lovely landscapes but there is no road, security or power supply for my equipment. There is no proper structure for us, so I would decide that instead of risking my life to go to Taraba, why can’t I go to South Africa or Zanzibar to shoot my music video without stress. How hard can it be for them to pass it into law that any street urchin that disturbs creative people while working should face the wrath of the law? Even with the present of police and soldiers around while shooting a music video, the head of the street urchins in that area could come and say that he wants to collect N2m.