During a visit to the headquarters of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), in Lagos, Lai Mohammed had hinted that the Federal Government has taken steps to amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to discourage the production of Nigerian movies and music outside the shores of the country.
But following an outburst of criticisms from various artists in the country which trailed his recent pronouncement, the Minister has explained the federal government’s intent insisting that government’s decision is best for the country.
Speaking during a briefing at the end of a two-day Creative Industry Financing Conference in Lagos, sponsored by the ministry in conjunction with “Think Tank Media and Advertising”, Mohammed said FG would not tamper with the aspirations and rights of artistes and producers.
“At COSON, I said that I would work to amend the National Broadcasting Commission’s code to ensure that if a product is designated a Nigerian product, it must be produced in Nigeria. I didn’t say that, henceforth, all music and films would or must be produced in Nigeria.
“All I said was that if a programme is designated as a Nigerian content programme, we will amend the code to ensure that it is produced in Nigeria. I didn’t say I’ll ban the production of Nigerian movies and videos overseas.”
He added that if the law says that a programme shall have 60 per cent Nigerian content, the producer could not go ahead to shoot such outside the country for Nigerian viewers.
“Of course, they will come and say that you do not have infrastructure and that is why they went outside to shoot.
“I asked if it is not the same programme you went to shoot outside Nigeria because we have epileptic power that you will bring back to show to us in Nigeria. Then, with which power are you showing the programme?” he said.
Lai Mohammed reiterated his pledge to create one million jobs in three years, adding that the target cannot be achieved if Nigerians continue exporting jobs to other countries.
The Minister also disclosed that the Federal Government will amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Code to compel brands to sponsor the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
“We will amend the NBC code to ensure that our Premier League improves. We will make sure that in the Code, if you spend one million dollars to support a foreign football club like Manchester United in Nigeria, you will not be allowed to air that programme unless you spend 30 per cent of that money to promote Nigeria’s league.
“Some beverage companies in Nigeria support Manchester United (Man U), Arsenal and others and spend about six million dollars a year. I then asked the question, how much of their products are being consumed over there?
“I was also told that a particular brand of Nigeria Beer is supporting several premier league teams to the tune of seven million dollars a year. We can imagine if they give us just 30 per cent of that, we will fix our stadia.
“I know they are going to attack me on this but I am not made a minister to sustain the economy of other countries.”
He said the government could no longer tolerate the situation where people continue to develop the economy of other parts of the world from the sweat of Nigerians and at the expense of Nigerian economy.