Recently, Nigeria’s Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed announced that the Federal Government is taking steps to amend the Broadcasting Code to check the shooting of local video content in countries other than Nigeria. The minister said, “This government has agreed that henceforth, whatever we consume in Nigeria in terms of music and films, must be made in Nigeria. We cannot continue to go to South Africa or any other country to produce our films and then send them back to be consumed in Nigeria.”
This is not the first time the Federal Government under the Buhari administration has attempted to clip the wings of the thriving entertainment industry in Nigeria. When reality television show, Big Brother Naija returned to airwaves, the FG faulted its organisers for shooting in South Africa, but the reasons were not far-fetched. Everyone else but the government knows it makes business sense to take such long-term production outside Nigeria if quality results are to be achieved, all for the very obvious reasons.
On the FG’s recent move, we reached to our Insiders to know what they think of it and if it is another development that will be welcome by practitioners in the entertainment and creative industry.
This Insider who owns a talent management company and is a culture critic said he has tried to reason along the same line as the Information Minister and he understands that the motive is to keep the money in the country. However, “structures are not in place to enforce this ban“, he says. “The ban is right but very unnecessary and especially at this time when we have a President who has been away for nearly 70 days receiving treatment ‘outside the country’. I think what the FG is trying to do is set up what I’ll call a “distractive mechanism”, Nigeria has bigger issues and this is just an attempt by backward thinking leaders to put us in a box and even kill the local broadcast community because to be honest, this ban will do more damage to local stations than cable channels“.
Another Insider who writes across entertainment and pop culture said, “This ban should not even be a conversation. It is a needless and meddlesome interference in the industry. The government is unable to control what it has not created an enabling environment for, it is focused on crude oil and has done nothing for the music industry so far so it has no place or reason to ban artistes from going out to film their content“. This insider also puts a valid question to the government, “Has the FG provided any alternatives to film makers and musicians, any film villages, top quality locations? Also, how has being a Nigerian helped an individual’s creative talent?”
“I think the government is overreaching and should instead focus on making the country a place where foreigners can come and shoot positive videos too”, this Insider simply states.
An Insider who has no patience for the FG’s ban was quick to call it “very stupid“. He added, “You cannot regulate creativity and the solution to problems is not always banning, banning, banning. How can we shoot videos with generators in the background making noise? Cameras don’t produce great effects with bad lighting and we know what the electricity situation is. The government should be thinking about subsidizing equipment, improving infrastructure and creating an enabling environment. Another way to think about this is: how exactly does FG want to enforce the ban? Most of these contents are aired on terrestrial television and government has no power over them so this is entirely a stupid move“.
These are the members of YNaija’s Pop Culture Insiders, not all of whom participated in this week’s survey:
Bizzle Osikoya (Bee Entertainment), Jim Donnett (TooXclusive), Ehiz (MTVBase), Timini Egbuson (Actor), Bayo Omisore (Platonique PR), Jide Taiwo (NET), Ayodeji Rotinwa (ThisDay), Edwin Okolo, Sensei Uche (City FM), Joey Akan (PulseNG), Timilehin Bello (Media Panache), Edward Israel (Chocolate City), Uche Briggs, Oreoluwa Peters (Doble Seis Entertainment), Ubi Franklin (TripleMG), Eromo Egbejule (The Guardian), Freeze (Cool FM), Godwin Tom (Godwin Tom Company), Asa Asika, Dotun Kayode (Cool FM), Femisoro Ajayi (BahdGuys Entertainment), Lekan Olanrewaju (Mnet), Latasha Ngwube (AboutThatCurvyLife), Funke Babs-Kufeji (ThisDay), Isioma Osaje (Agency 106), Jola Sotubo (PulseNG), Tosyn Bucknor (Top Radio), Tosin Ajibade (Olorisupergal), Ifeoma Areh (WildFlowerPR), Foladele Falana (TV Continental)
Your pop culture/entertainment go-to. Music head. Wallflower. I do not like to write. On a mission to decipher covfefe.