Foreign movies remain banned in Nigeria, NFVCB Insists
In line with its vision to sanitize the Nigerian film industry and discouraging piracy of intellectual works, the DG of the National Film & Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Alhaji Adebayo Thomas, yesterday led stakeholders in the movie industry to the Lagos office of the agency to burn seized prated films worth millions of Naira.
Thomas, who said the action is in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive for economic growth, informed that his team has in recent times, supervised the confiscation of illegal films and video works worth over N800 million.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, at the outset of his regime, unfolded the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), a Medium-Term Plan for 2017 -2020, which was developed for the purpose of restoring economic growth, while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people, the nation’s most priceless assets. One of the key facilitators 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.”
He said industry players lose billions of naira to adulterated, smuggled and unclassified works through unlicensed agents and distributors.
“This also ultimately denies the government its statutory revenues. No doubt, the activities of these groups have negative impacts on the society and tend to discourage potential investors,” he said.
The DG said the agency has continuously seized and confiscated some items for the past two years across the country.
“This is just Lagos; we have them all over the country as well. That’s why when I came, I started from Sokoto; I’ve been to Abuja. I was in Kaduna on Wednesday and in Kano on Thursday. People should please understand what we’re doing and cooperate with us, especially those, who trade in foreign films. All foreign films in this country are banned; they are illegal and that is why we seek the collaborations of the costumes and all agencies. It is against the growth of this country,” he said.
He informed that the films came in illegally without censorship, without classification, and without the permission of the original rights owners, adding, “that reduces our rating in terms of intellectual property right. So, it is a total ban for all foreign films. The foreign films we allow are the ones in the cinema because we’re able to manage the cinema and censor it.”
The DG said Nigeria is now the pride of all in the world because of Nollywood contents.
“We are now the new emerging market; Nigeria parades the biggest content in this world. And if the productive energy of the stakeholders, the moviemakers, the producers, the marketers, the distributors are being channeled in a proper way, while providing an enabling environment for them, there are millions of jobs to be created.”
The Nigeria Film Industry, according to the DG, contributed over N30 Billion to the Nigeria GDP in 2019, adding, “Preserving it means we care about the growth of Nigeria.”
Recent Box Office earnings indicate that Nigerians spent about N7 billion on tickets at the cinemas in 2019 alone, a 200 per cent increase from about N2 billion spent in 2018, grossing more than N1 billion in December 2019.
On double taxation, which has remained a major challenge for filmmakers, Thomas said, “It is expedient that we address the issue of double taxation necessitated by the incursion of Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board (LSFVCB). Though film regulation is on the concurrent Legislative List, however, the constitution also provides that the Federal Law in that regards supersedes and overrides any other law in that regard. There have been several calls and complaints for us to harmonise our position with LSFVCB and we are much open to dialogue in order not to stall the current progress and successes of the Nigerian Film Industry.”
Speaking at the event, Nollywood actress, Hilda Ekubo, while commending the DG for his works since inception, said, “When you steal somebody’s intellectual property, you should actually be treated like a real criminal because you do not just steal from the owner but also from the nation because that money could have employed more people, provided security for all of us.”
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