Vice President (Africa) of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, FIAPF, and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers, ANCOP, Comrade Alex Eyengho, belittled the claim by the former Governor of Lagos State and Nigeria’s current Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, that Nollywood movies are promoting money rituals and encouraging kidnappings,saying that the ‘minister lied.”
According to the award-winning filmmaker who was only December 2019 inducted into the prestigious ‘Nigerian Movie Rock of Fame’ of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), the Minister seems not to have a clear understanding of the workings of the Nigerian motion picture industry (Nollywood) or its contents, adding that the statement was not based on any shred of fact but mere hasty generalization.
His words: “I have enormous respect for His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola, particularly his intellect and administrative acumen. However, he was manifestly off the track in this statement credited to him. Perhaps he would have been right if his claim was talking about some Nollywood movies. I don’t like sweeping statements. The truth here is that his generalization is hasty and untrue. I would perhaps be more comfortable if he had said some, and indeed go ahead to back up the statement with fact in terms of percentage of Nollywood films he watched, say within a year that promotes rituals and kidnappings.”
“Nollywood practitioners operate within the ambit of the law and various layers of Government regulatory agencies, with the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) as the Chief gatekeeper of Nollywood movies and the final movie contents the public see eventually. Will the NFVCB okay for release any such films that promote rituals and kidnappings? Assuming but without conceding to the claim, is Mr. Fashola’s statement not clearly an indictment on NFVCB as per its primary responsibility?,” Eyengho queried.
According to the filmmaker- turned- politician, the kind of films Fashola is talking about may be true about Nollywood 20 years ago, even as he posited that there was nothing wrong with shooting films about ritual, kidnapping and other crimes, as long as it is properly told, censored and appropriately classified by the NFVCB.
“Most films are reflection of the society we live in. I don’t know of any film here in Nigeria that sets out to glorify crimes such as rituals, kidnappings, 419, internet scam (yahoo yahoo) etc. What matters in such thematic films is the message and resolution at the end of the film. If for instance it ends with severe punishments for those involved in such crimes, then there is nothing wrong with it because such films are meant to correct the ills of our society and to serve as deterrent,” Eyengho stated.
Fashola, while speaking during the week, at the fourth annual public lecture/symposium organised by the United Action for Change, themed, ‘Security of citizens as a social contract’, was quoted as saying that Nollywood movies are promoting money rituals and encouraging kidnapping in the country.