…insists Nollywood can drive Nigeria’s economy

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

University of Abuja (UniAbuja) has asked the Federal Government to consider more investment in the entertainment industry in Nigeria, or provide a good working environment for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) that would improve the fortunes of the industry.

The University said that such opportunity will encourage and improve creativity and outputs, create jobs and wealth, and could attract foreign patronage, thus boosting the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Nigeria.

It recalled that few years ago, Nigeria rebased its economy, and discovered that Nollywood contributed about four percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

UniAbuja Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, made the suggestion in Abuja, on Wednesday, at a conference on “Decolonizing African Cinema in the Age of Media Streaming” organized by the school.

He said it’s time that government provide financial and logistics support to players in the industry, and also push for safety and security of their creative and digital assets, as well as Copyright laws, so they genuinely make maximum achievements and impacts.

He said: “This conference was organized in honour of the Prof. Onookome Okome, who has played great role in building the Nollywood brand that is rated the second largest film industry in the world. Nollywood showcased the creativity and ingenuity that came from Africa which was a surprise to the developed world.

“We are happy to have Prof. Okome join us in developing the creative talents that are abound in UniAbuja and beyond. We offer Degree Programme in film studies and students in that department are extremely happy that they would tap into Prof. Okome’s wealth of knowledge in creative arts.”

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Prof. Na’Allah said it’s time to drive the economy and fortunes of Nigeria using the Nollywood. “The Federal Government must understand that now, and it’s in the interest of the government to know that film industry is multi-million dollar industry that can create wealth for the people.

“People all over the world watch Nollywood films, and people all over the world know and see Nigeria through the the film platform. Evidently, global community are taking serious interest in our music, comedy, dances, food and several other entertainment services.

“Netflix, a global streaming platform is constantly showing contents from Nigeria entertainment industry, notably, Comedy, Movies and others. These are several ways of foreign earnings for individuals and government. Government has no choice but to change the fortune of Nigerian economy through the entertainment industry particularly the Nollywood.”

On his side, Prof. Okome, said there is need to correct the misrepresentation of Nigeria, its people and culture, as being promoted by the West through their movies and media.

He appreciated the management of UniAbuja for organizing such impactful conference which provided the opportunity to discuss several issues regarding Nollywood and potentials therein, considering the gradual departure from the old to the new way (streaming).

“Sadly, the streaming platforms like Netflix seems to be shortchanging Nigeria film makers. They detect to Nigerian film makers base on their own interests. They tell them the kind of films they would make, not minding the interest of local consumers here in Nigeria. That’s not the original intent of Nollywood.

“These streaming platforms are reimagining Nollywood the way it will benefit them commercially. As a result, film makers in Nigeria no longer make the kind of money that they used to make because of the streaming. Streaming platforms like Iroko TV, Netflix, and others give film makers very little money.

“Undoubtedly, entertainment industry is major contributor to the economy of Nigeria, and there’s need for continuous investments to improve in standards and quality of products, resulting in more acceptance and financial rewards.”


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