Nigerian actors ask Jonathan to sack heads of movie regulatory agencies

Ibinabo Fiberesima PHOTO:

The Actors Guild visited the president in Abuja.

The Actors Guild of Nigeria has called for the sack of the heads of two regulatory agencies in the entertainment industry.

The call was made by the President of the Guild, Ibinabo Fiberesima, when she led some of her members on a courtesy visit to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

Fiberesima, who is the first female president of the 5 million-member guild since its inception 15 years ago, was accompanied on the visit by members of the Guild’s Board of Trustees, and executives from 35 states.

She urged the president to review the regulators’ appointment and ensure that only those with passion for the job are put in the position.

“Mr. President, Your Nollywood is in dire need of purposeful, practical, dynamic and experienced leadership at the helm of affairs of the two regulatory agencies whose function border on our industry: that is, the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).

“Those that have been appointed to run those agencies have shown lack of capacity to put the industry on the path of growth especially in this transformational period.

“We implore Mr. President to review those appointments and appoint administrators with passion, zeal and total dedication to the development of the film industry,” she said.

She also said Nollywood is in dire need of a modern, responsive, legal environment for it to continue to thrive and remain relevant to the Jonathan administration’s Transformation Agenda.

“The present Copyright Act is now grossly inadequate particularly in digital and internet environment.

“The criminal sanctions for piracy and other copyright infringements have become ridiculously low and no longer as sufficient deterrence to infringers,” she said.

She urged Mr. Jonathan to more importantly see to the full implementation of the revised National Film Policy (NFP) and to present the bill on the setting up of the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON) as an Executive bill that should speedily be passed into law.

“We believe that that the implementation of the revised National Film Policy which provides among other things for the setting up of community cinemas in each of the local government area of the country, the setting up of MOPPICCON and the setting up of a sustainable film fund, is the most important intervention tool that the Nigerian motion picture industry requires to address some of its structural deficiencies,” she said.

The guild president also requested for a land and a building in the Federal Capital Territory for their headquarters which would be named The Goodluck Jonathan Screen Actors House.

Fiberesima said the building when provided “will save us the avalanche of embarrassments we receive anytime we host our international friends and colleagues”.

The guild also urged President Jonathan to direct the relevant agencies to negotiate and sign relevant foreign treaties on movies with other countries; as none currently exists with any country.

She thanked the President for appointing some of their colleagues to some government positions and urged him to inculcate the actors into the centenary celebrations so that they can “produce a historic film that will talk about us from 1914-2014 with a view to chronicle the achievements of our founding fathers and socio political evolution”.

In his response, President Jonathan promised to look at the requests put forward by the guild. He said the land was guaranteed, but that he would meet with the FCT minister to help them build the secretariat.

Noting that actors nationwide have touched the lives of Nigerians even to the grassroots, Mr. Jonathan said Nollywood is the tool that would be used to redefine Africa.

The Information Minister, Labaran Maku, promised that the actors’ requests that needed executive assent will be presented to the Federal Executive Council next week.

The Culture and Tourism Minister, Edem Duke, also urged the guild to sustain the positive value of the country as well as the unity of the country in every story they tell.

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