Following statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that the Federal Government has taken steps to amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to discourage the production of Nigerian movies and music outside the country, some entertainers have criticized the move, calling it an attempt to gage creativity.
Mohammed had decried the situation whereby films, reality TV shows and music, were made outside Nigeria during his visit to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON)’s new office in Lagos, on Saturday, saying the situation had hampered the development of the entertainment sector and the nation’s economy in general.
“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.
“The Broadcasting Code and the Advertising Code are very clear on this.
“For you to classify a product as a Nigerian product, it must have a certain percentage of Nigerian content,” the Minister said.
Reacting to the statement, singer Shakar El, in an Open Letter to the minister, noted that, if Nigerian public holders continue to seek medical care outside Nigeria, entertainers could as well do the same.
He said although the patriotic concern of the minister is understandable, most times, entertainers shoot outside Nigeria because of the concept of that particular project and in some cases due to lack of logistics to produce such movie or song in Nigeria.
He argued that only a handful of Nigerian entertainers/ production companies can actually afford to produce their project outside the shores of Nigeria.
“In the few cases where some artists can afford to produce abroad then it is not much of a problem since they will be using their own money for such expenses and not at the expense of Tax payers.
“Honourable, I wish you can use your office to push against medical tourism by Nigerian Public office holders which appears to be a major problem to our economy and Development as a country than Entertainment tourism/Exchange,” he said.
In the same vein, Peter Okoye of the PSquare music group also decried the move in a social media post, saying he feels ashamed to be called a Nigerian, going by this development.
“Dear FG, for your information! All the Shame way una dey bring for dis our country, na we entertainers dey cover una Nash! Ndi ala #SMH
“Sometimes, I’m ashamed to be called a Nigerian because this people…Tufia kwa
“Another Nationality Loading.” He tweeted.
The minister had likened a situation whereby Nigerians shoot their music videos abroad and call it a Nigerian product to ‘deceitful’.
“It is like somebody going to China or Japan to make a product that looks like palm wine and bring it back home to label it Nigerian palm wine.
“As long as we are not able to implement our own code to ensure local production of Nigerian music and movies, our young talents will not get jobs.
“It is Nigerians that pay for the consumption of these products and therefore they must be allowed and encouraged to participate in their production.
“I am going to meet with the relevant stakeholders over this, to see that whatever amendment that is needed to be made to our Broadcasting Code in this regard, is done urgently.”