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Censors Board reconstitutes taskforce on illegal movies

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It was a heart lifting development for filmmakers who attended the inauguration of a special taskforce, constituted by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to checkmate the upsurge of unlicensed and unclassified movies in the country.

The move was one of the steps taken by the new Executive Director of the NFVCB, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, who assumed office barely three months ago.

The feat, according to many, was a subtle approach to minimize piracy of intellectual property in Nigeria.

Inaugurating the 8-man taskforce at the Ikoyi office of the agency, Thomas said the reconstituted national taskforce against unwholesome movies, was one of the mandates given him by President Muhammadu Buhari “to revitalize the dying dreams of the founding fathers of the film industry, whose shear efforts brought the sector to phenomenal limelight, but have so far recorded pains and tears as a result of the sabotaging works of people bent on crippling the industry.”

Acknowledging that  the Nigerian motion picture industry was built on the sweat and toils of its doyens, and not by government, the NFVCB boss said, “My own responsibility therefore as one of the representatives of the government is to rekindle dashed hopes and fertilize the soil for their seeds to thrive and reap bountiful harvests from their toils and labours in the sector.”

According to Thomas, the entertainment industry in Nigeria is the second largest employer of labour in Nigeria after agricultural sector; estimated to employ over one million Nigerians, hence the policy objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Buhari administration is to increase film production by 15 percent on an annual basis, export videos to generate USD1 billion in foreign exchange by 2020 and improve enforcement of intellectual property rights for artistic works produced in Nigeria.

To achieve this, Thomas said, comes the need to enforce intellectual property rights in the film industry.

“We have therefore selected men and women of impeccable character, cutting across various interests in the industry, thoroughbred professionals who have immensely contributed to the sector, and who know exactly where the shoe pinches,”

Chaired by the NFVCB ED himself, the national taskforce which is headed by veteran filmmaker, Patron/Advisor to the Board, Chief Eddie Ugboma, has as its members, Head of Lagos State Film Censors Board, Mr. Dele Balogun; notable marketer, Igwe Gab Okoye, aka Gabosky; and notable northern Nigerian filmmakers, Hajia Aisha Alilu and Mallam Malik Awah. Others are actor Saint Obi and film marketers Norbert Ajaegbu and Olatunji Ojetola.

According to the ED, the taskforce will work closely with members of the Police, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and other relevant agencies to achieve results.

The taskforce is expected to specifically look into issues regarding proliferation of unclassified or unapproved movies, Influx of foreign movies dubbed in indigenous languages, and movie distribution by unlicensed agents.

In their acceptance remarks, the members of the taskforce were unanimous on the need to bring sanity to the film industry.

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