A proposed legislation aimed at protecting Nigeria’s indigenous filmmakers has scaled through its Second Reading on the Floor of the House of Representatives and committed to the House committee for further legislative work.
The planned legislation, sponsored by Hon. Ladi Adebutu’s is seeking to amend the National Film and Video Censors Board Act 2004, by expanding the functions and membership of the Board to include representatives of the Association of Theatre Arts and Indigenous Languages Film Producers and Practitioners respectively for the purposes of promoting and protecting Nigeria’s indigenous languages.
In the current Act, membership of the Board is exclusively for representatives of the Associations representing English Language – speaking Film and Video Producers and Practitioners.
During his presentation, Hon Adebutu said: “As far back as 2008, the industry has consistently produced 2000 titles every year in Nigeria’s three major languages and as a consequence of the indigenous content it serves as a channel to promote our rich cultural diversity and nuances; recreate socio-political storylines/cultural practices that are relevant to everyday situations.
“This high level of productivity can further birth a pool of creative talent, a broad skills base, and create a high demand for Nigeria’s films in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas;
which in the long run will create a steady revenue stream for the Federal Government and reduce the over-dependence on revenue from oil and gas revenue.”
He added that the justification for the amended Bill is that: “It will protect our culture as well as producers, marketers and filmmakers from an imminent decline in their creative work in indigenous languages.
This in turn will lead to sharpening the instrumentality of languages as a preserver of cultural heritage.”
He reminded the audience that the import of the Bill will be to preserve rural harmony, give traction to cultural values and further tell the nation’s stories to the world through films, TV drama series;
generate employment and create jobs especially in the rural communities and ultimately drive the vision to transform Nigeria’s film industry from a creative industry to a creative economy.
In his conclusion, he urged his colleagues to “support the speedy passage of this very important Bill for the protection of our cultural heritage as well as for creativity and preservation of the livelihoods of our indigenous film-makers in the overall interest of the economy.”
Adebutu who represents Sagamu, Ikenne and Remo North Federal Constituency in Ogun State, received the support of his colleagues and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara, ordered that the Bill be referred to the House Committee on National Orientation for further processing.
Support for this historic legislation for the Nollywood entertainment industry, also came with the presence of popular actors and chieftains in the Associations of indigenous filmmakers such as Jide Kosoko, Dele Odule and Abiodun Olanrewaju who watched proceedings in the Chambers of the House of Representatives from the public gallery.
Speaking after the plenary session, veteran actor, Jide Kosoko praised Adebutu’s effort to shake-up the industry with a progressive piece of legislation.
He noted that previous attempts to redress some of the gaps in the industry through law, were not followed through, but was optimistic that Adebutu will see the proposed amendment to its logical conclusion.