BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
Talented Nollywood actor, Wole Ojo has reminded the current Muhammadu Buhari-led government to remember its pre-election promises and create an enabling environment for the growth of the Nigerian film industry.
The Maami actor stated this in a chat with TNS. Wole said that the government should, among other things, empower the law enforcement agents in order for them to be able to successfully go after pirates.
On the current problems facing Nollywood, the actor pointed to the issue of piracy.
The issue of piracy cannot be over-emphasized. It’s a no-brainer. Everybody out there knows this. Over the years, there’s been talks about what we need to do about it but like I said during one of the sessions at November’s AFRIFF, I remember President Buhari’s presidential campaign which he was represented by Governor Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi and Dele Momodu was present as well as many Nollywood practitioners. It was stated and I’m quoting Fashola that they “want to do when we get into power is not to give handouts to Nollywood but to put in place a structure that would allow and enable the average producer make money.”
When you’re thinking Nollywood and thinking structure, one of the first things that come to mind is empowering the law enforcement agents to go after piracy. If they promised while they were campaigning that they want to put in a structure, they should be looking at piracy and distribution.
As it is, Nollywood is one of the biggest employers of labour in Nigeria. Imagine a situation where Nollywood is well catered for, where piracy is tackled to the barest minimum, the average movie producer can afford to take on big epic projects such as Titanic and Gladiators, indirectly, you are taking youths of the streets. The government knows what to do, it’s just a case of them doing it.
On whether the law enforcement agents are currently well-equipped to go after pirates, Wole said:
No they’re not! As statistics have been pointed out, the current number of people in the outfit currently saddled with the responsibility of going after pirates is just about 300. It doesn’t work. We need more people. We need to tweak the copyright law. As it stands, it’s non-existent. Somebody said recently that you can go and arrest a pirate and all he has to do is to pay N5000 and you have sentences of six months, two years and five years. It’s a criminal offence because you’re reaping off people who have worked! It should not be treated with levity. If the pirate knows that he will be severely punished, everybody will buckle up. We even have law enforcement agents protecting these pirates.
Wole Ojo stars in Niyi Akinmolayan’s Out of Luck alongside Jide Kosoko, Femi Branch, Tope Tedela, Linda Ejiofor and Adesua Etomi.