Stella Dimoko Nigeria's Film Industry Faces Setbacks


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Sunday, August 07, 2016

Nigeria's Film Industry Faces Setbacks

Plans for new studios in northern Nigeria have hit a snag after conservative clerics convinced the government to shelve the project. Filmmakers are furious, and tough times lie ahead for Africa's Hollywood.

Films from "Nollywood," as the country's film industry is known, and more recently from "Kannywood" in the northern city of Kano, have been among Nigeria's top exports for years, loved by audiences in many African countries. The Nigerian government was set to support the boom with a new film village worth a billion Naira (2.8 million euros / $3 million), including studios, training rooms and a hotel.

But conservative clergy in the region opposed the plan. Muslim preachers warned that Allah would curse those behind the "unislamic" idea. "We don't want it and we don't need it," Sheikh Abdallah Kanya said of the new film village. He said he would counter the construction plans with prayers that would render the project's supporters blind and deaf.

Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, head of Hisbah, Kano's religious police, also objects. "They [government officials] did not consider the ills of this project to our religion," he told DW. That's why he decided to step in and take his complaints to the authorities.

President pulls out
Following the protests, President Muhammadu Buhari, who comes from the country's mainly Muslim north, backpedalled on the plans, scrapping government funding for the project.

President Buhari had previously pledged to help the country's film industry by cracking down on copyright piracy
The decision has left many people angry. In recent years, the Nigerian film industry has grown into a lucrative economic sector. It's estimated to produce between 400 and 2000 films every year.

"People think the film village is a sort of hotel or brothel where everyone could go and live out their sexual desires," said actor Mudassir Haladu. But that's not the case, he adds. "We are Muslims and we know what Islam teaches us. We can differentiate between good and bad in this religion," he told DW.

Loss of much-needed jobs
"Every progressive-minded person knows that the center would help in promoting investments and cultural richness in our society," said journalist and blogger Jaafar Jaafar. "We believe the center is long overdue, because the film industry is very important for the Hausa-speaking people," he told DW, adding that it could have created much-needed jobs for young people in the region.

"It's easy to influence the masses, but they could have been better informed about the project beforehand," Jaafar told DW. He feels it should have been the government, not local Imams, leading the debate about the film industry in Kano. Most people wanted the project to go ahead, Jaafar said, adding that the government should rethink its decision.

Film fan Hauwa Bukar Kumshe from Yola in eastern Nigeria was looking forward to the film village. "It would have been a milestone for us. We want to show what our country has to offer," he said. "Hausa movies are popular all over Africa. They show how we love, present the culture and tradition of our country's rural areas." As Kumshe sees it, immorality can always exist, film village or not.

Dangerous films?
But others are concerned about the cultural impact of the film industry. Isaaih Kenza is worried that children spend too much time watching films which could be a bad influence. "There are films that glorify violence," he said. "Killings and murders dominate, and out children might copy that."

For the film industry, the decision to scrap the film village project is a heavy blow. Balarabe Murtala Baharu, press secretary of Kano Film Producers Association, says its a financial loss for the region. "The film Village was supposed to be realised from the taxes the government collected from the film industry," he told DW. "Everyone would have profited from the project. The government from more taxes and the industry from better organisation and greater unity." reportage.


  1. Replies
    1. y wnt he build it in abuja or lagos,clueless president, so bc they didn't agree he scrapped it,

    2. This project could easily have been relocated to a place like Jos with plenty of intelligent talent, scenic locations, the presence of NFI and NTA TV College. Also the cash injection and jobs it would have created would have resuscitated the city's failing economy.

    3. And that was how they used religious/moral sentiments to sabotage what could have been a mega breakthrough in the northern movie industry.

      I remember Jubrin flagged this issue and he mentioned it in his exclusive interview with Channels. It is believed that some vindictive people poisoned the president's mind about it because they think that some legislatures were out to benefit from the project. Esp because Jubrin was a part of it. Personal vendetta I guess.

  2. Lmao at president "pulls out". hahaha his pull out game is strong.

    1. Lol....pulled what out? From where?...

  3. Where is the money Jonathan gave Ben Bruce for the film industry one time ago?

  4. Why must it be built in the north. Northern Nigeria has contributed nothing to the development of Nigeria and Arts in particular. What a bunch of bastards and almajiris

  5. Can they move it to more "Liberal" areas, a state more "sinful" than them.
    Must it be in that particular state or Allah will still curse them wherever they move the project to?
    I am not understanding!

  6. Their business

  7. Mtchewwww! They should move it to Asaba or Enugu.

  8. No problem , they should please move the project to other states like onitsha even abia need that development....they shd not just chop the money oooooo.

  9. Wow! A film village project costing a billion naira for a select group of actors beats my imagination. If any project should be embarked on, shouldn't it be for nollywood- which is the main body of thespians in Nigeria by the way. These people keep fanning the embers of discord in this country. There's no way people won't view this from an ethnic angle. Thanks to to those clerics, we wouldn't even know what went down.

    And oh, was it out of our alleged empty treasury that buhari planned to fund the project? This country can simply be likened to a James Bond movie. Everything is filmtrick!

  10. They should build it in the east or west naah since their religion is against it, it must not be in the north.since there is an already mapped out money for it.

  11. How has nollywood contributed to the growth of the Nigerian economy?

    1. You are as dumb as your name sounds.

    2. As in eh? The poor thing's one-track mind can only understand prick-and-pussy matters. Steffy love, try thinking productively (as opposed to reproductively) for a change. Kisses and hugs.

  12. He pulled out after cuming bah? You dont rocket science to solve this, move the film village to the South, East or West. Case close. So where will the money earmarked go to?

  13. Lagos is where they need to move it too!!!! Both Yoruba films & English ones have contributed tremendously to what the industry is today! Why up north? Doesn't even make sense


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