John Shiklam in Kaduna
National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has destroyed illicit and unapproved films and video worth over N800 million in Kaduna.
Speaking before the public burning of the illegal films yesterday at the Federal Secretariat in Kaduna, NFVCB Executive Director, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, said players in the film industry in Nigeria have lost billions of naira to adulterated, smuggled and unclassified works through unlicensed agents and distributors.
He lamented that the activities of unscrupulous people in the creative industry has not only denied government statutory revenues, but has also impacted negatively on the society, demoralised stakeholders and discouraged investors in the sector.
Thomas said in order to check these illegalities, President Muhammadu Buhari, upon assumption, unfolded the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which aimed at restoring economic growth and leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people.
According to him, one of “the objectives of the ERGP is the continuous improvement on, respect for, and enforcement of intellectual property and ownership rights in the film industry, by discouraging the distribution of unapproved, unclassified and unwholesome films, and
tackling other illicit activities in the film market.”
“No doubt, the activities of these individuals or groups have negative impacts on the society, demoralised stakeholders, and tend to dis-incentivise existing investors and discourage potential investors.
“It was on this premise that the National Film and Video Censors Board, about two years ago, re-constituted the National Taskforce on Unapproved Movies with the support of the Minister of Information and Culture and unflinching collaboration of the Nigeria Police Force through the Inspector General of Police.
“The immediate intervention of the taskforce, which includes industry stakeholders, guilds and in-house operations staff of the board, led to many unprecedented successes, including breaking into the dreaded Alaba Market (in Lagos) for massive raid and sensitisation, which sent a strong message to miscreants who feast on other people’s sweat,” Thomas said.
He said in order to combat the menace of illicit and unapproved movies and videos, 150 staff of the board were trained at the various police colleges to improve on their operations.
“These actions have helped to tackle the critical and impeding issues of infringement on proprietary rights, bootlegging of movies and other illicit acts in the film industry, recently leading to massive raid and confiscation of illegal films and video works worth over N800 million.
“It is important to state that we have carried out similar activities in Sokoto State where there was prevalence of animal bestiality and other obnoxious pornographic materials. And that is why we are here today,” he added.
He noted that a collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force and other stakeholders had led to massive confiscation of pornographic films and other unwholesome video works in the Kaduna Centre of the board.
Thomas said the board’s strategic approach to improving industry growth and combating counterfeiting and
unapproved movies through approvals and support for cinemas, has led to
huge economic impact and increase in revenue.
He said “recent Box Office earnings indicate that Nigerians spent about N7 billion on tickets at the cinemas in the year 2019, a 200 per cent increase from about N2 billion spent in the year 2018, grossing more than N1 billion in December 2019 alone.”
“These figures are exclusive of earnings from ancillary businesses along the cinema industry value chain, VCDs and DVDs, online streaming, Videos on Demand and Over-the-Top platforms, payTV channels, community cinemas, and other distribution channels.
“The Nigerian film industry also recently surpassed India’s Bollywood to become
the second largest industry on the planet, after Hollywood and was awarded the New Emerging Film Market.
“We have also introduced licensing certificates and labels with digital security features to prevent counterfeiting and create a confirmation desk to duly authenticate approved film distributors, exhibitors and video works,” he said.