BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
Over 48 hours after the text message sent by Magic Lightz Film Academy asking artistes shortlisted by the production company to pay N10,000 (ten thousand Naira) was circulated, the umbrella body for actors in Nigeria, the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) is yet to break its silence on the matter.
Cases of unsuspecting movie-stardom-seekers falling prey to dubious production companies and individuals are frequent occurrences in Nollywood. Many are asked to pay before they are cast in films while some not-so-fortunate females are sexually harassed by “smart” directors and producers.
Actress Chioma Nwosu was one of the first to cry out about the text messages with the official WhatsApp number of Magic Lightz Film Academy ordering artistes to buy a “production file” for N10,ooo if they harboured plans of appearing in “Warri Boiz in Lagos.” Another actor, Gregory Ebalu Ojefua also claimed on Facebook that he received an identical text message.
Even though the Publicity Secretary of the production house, a certain Ziki who spoke with TNS, claimed the phone line was hacked, and that disclaimer messages had been sent out almost immediately, there is still a general belief that this is a case of a rabbit caught by a car’s headlights.
Nwosu told me in our conversation that even though she did not want to get caught up in the controversy surrounding her social media outcry, she had a duty to speak up to alert inexperienced actors and actresses who may be the targets of Nollywood con artists.
Efforts to reach the President of the Actors Guild, Ibinabo Fiberesima have proven abortive. She has neither returned my calls nor text message. One would have thought that cases like these are the what the Guild would take seriously because of the reputation of the industry which, whether it is accepted or not, scandals like these do not do good justice to.
This is also coming at a time when Daily Independent broke the news of another actor, Ernest Asuzu who has pointed fingers at the Guild and accused the President of “gallivanting around.”