NFVCB boss lauds minister on creative industry COVID-19 committee, begins virtual censorship

Alhaji Adedayo Thomas

The Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Alhaji Adedayo Thomas has commended the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for setting up the COVID 19 Creative Industry Committee.

Adedayo described the committee, chaired by comedian Ali Baba Akpobome as a necessary ingredient to galvanize the sector and prepare it for the post-pandemic era. He appealed to stakeholders in the sector to see the larger picture, which is how the sector would bounce back quickly after the global pandemic, rather than bicker over the composition of the committee.

He appealed to stakeholders in the creative industry to join hands in welcoming the committee, which was set up to advice the government on the best way to mitigate the effects of COVID 19 pandemic on the creative industry.

Recall that immediately the minister announced the membership of the committee, some sections of the creative industry voiced their concern over poor representation of sectors that make up the creative industry.

Adedayo, however, appealed to stakeholders to embrace the committee, noting that the action of the minister shows the continued confidence the President Muhammed Buhari government has on the sector. According to him, the government is very mindful of the contributions of the sector to the nation’s economy and is, therefore, looking ahead to see the sector bounce back immediately after the pandemic.

He observed that the COVID 19 pandemic has exposed the nation’s economy to some existential threats, vis a vis the mainstream sectors contributing to her economic base and bridging the employment gap.

“Having read the press release by a consortium of guilds and associations in the Nigeria film industry, veiling a direct response to the efforts of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alha¬ji Lai Mohammed, at drawing sustainability for the creative industry in Nigeria, through the intervention of a committee set up to that effect, may I seek your indulgence to join the conversation and redress some concerns on the divergent views being expressed across different quarters, especially as it relates to the involvement of guild heads in participating or nominating the membership of the com¬mittee.

“The Honourable Minister, proactively so, decided to set up the committee in an advisory capacity to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in the creative industry. We all understand how large the creative industry is, and it is expedient to incorporate its sectoral arms in whatever decision, policy-making and intervention efforts of the government. Hence, the need to set up such membership composition of the committee with capable hands, who have soared far and beyond in their respective sectors of the wider entertainment and creative industry. I believe this decision would not have been exclusive of the contributions and support of industry players,” he said.

He further explained, “I understand your concerns on the need to consult guild heads, but we must not also fail to understand that the creative industry transcends the film and music sectoral arms, and there is a need to widen the net needed to accommodate its tentacles. However, without an iota of doubt, I believe the Honourable Minister has received our concerns and would act in good faith in the future.”

Adedayo stated that the Board was bracing up to doing business in the post-COVID 19 era, noting that, it is in the realization of this that the Board has commenced the virtual censorship of films for stakeholders. He said that virtual censorship of films was introduced by the Board to assist filmmakers to censor their films, during the period of the pandemic. According to him, the filmmaker will just upload the film to the office and the film will be censored and approved in less than one week.

The Executive Director assured that the Board will continue to sanitise the sector by ridding it of uncensored and unclassified films and video works after the pandemic.

“The battle to rid the market of all foreign uncensored films and video works and locally pirated films and video works will continue to its logical conclusion until the perpetrators are subdued”.

The Board, he assured, will not condone a situation stakeholders are denied the rewards of their investments and government its revenue by dubious operators.

According to him, “we have trained about 150 staff in Police Enforcement activities to tackle the perpetrators of uncensored and unclassified films and video works. The Board has a strategic partnership with the Nigeria Police in the area of enforcement to contend the proliferation of uncensored and unclassified films and video works.”

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