The Nigerian Federal Government has come to terms with the importance of entertainment in the development of the nations’ economy. Therefore, has instructed the appropriate ministry to create a platform that Nigerian entertainers would benefit from. The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has announced plans to set up the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and establish the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON).
This statement was issued in Abuja on Sunday after the 2016 Kannywood, (Hausa film industry) Awards, which took place on Saturday night. The minister said that establishing NEA will ensure sustainable funding for all genres of the arts in Nigeria.
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On MOPPICON, which will regulate, administer and control the motion picture practice in Nigeria, Mr. Lai Mohammed announced that he would soon set up ministerial committee on the MOPPICON Bill with a view to fast-tracking its passage into law and pave the way for the establishment of the council.
“We are forwarding a copy of the draft Bill on the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts to the Ministry of Justice. My plan is to fast-track the realization of the NEA in order to guarantee sustainable development of the creative sector,” he said, adding that the establishment of the NEA would tackle the challenge of funding for the creative arts sector.”
The Minister met with some Nollywood stakeholders at a Round-table in Lagos on how best to set up and sustain the soon-to-be NEA. He also promised to work with stakeholders in the movie industry to tackle the challenges endangering the sector, including Piracy, Distribution, Funding, and the Re-organization of the Regulatory Agencies.
He commended the organizers of the Kannywood Awards, which first held in 2013, for keeping the flag flying. And also thanked the National Copyright Committee, NCC, for their efforts in tackling piracy which has posed as a huge hindrance to the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
He called piracy a “monstrous disincentive” to the movie industry and indeed the entire arts and entertainment industry, suggesting that a longer jail term with no option of fine for convicted offenders and the establishment of a dedicated National Task Force on Piracy could help curb the scourge.
“I am told that a recent study revealed that there are 8 pirated works to two original works out of every ten works you find in the market. This is totally unacceptable! This Administration is determined to fight this scourge, and indeed we have started fighting. Between the time we held the Round table in Lagos and today, three alleged pirates have been arrested by the police. There is no better evidence of our commitment to fighting piracy than this. I want to use this opportunity to commend the police and the NCC for this breakthrough.”