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Lai Mohammed,

Mohammed inaugurates MOPICON Draft Document; decries disunity in movie industry

Lai Mohammed,
Lai Mohammed,
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, decried the level of disunity and prevailing structural deficiency in the nation’s movie industry.
The minister spoke in Lagos at the inauguration of the Ministerial Committee on Review of Motion Picture Council of Nigeria (MOPICON) Draft Document.
He said the inability of practitioners and stakeholders to speak with one voice was affecting the growth of the industry.
Mohammed noted that government had good intention for setting up the ministerial review committee in order to fast track the passage of MOPICON Law.
He added that when he announced the idea, his office was inundated with complaints and petitions from practitioners, saying “I cannot count the number of petitions I have received either for non inclusion in this committee or against the idea.
“Some of the complainants even suggested that we are about to set up another agency that will muzzle creativity and dictate to them the kind of movies to produce.”
The minister explained that the efforts by government to set up MOPICON Law would enable Nollywood to play meaningful roles in national development.
“One of the ways we think we can tackle the many challenges militating against professional and career fulfillment in the movie industry is to have a central body we can always refer to in decisions aimed at improving and modernising the motion picture industry.
“Also, government’s interest in setting up MOPICON is driven by the fact that we as the supervising ministry need to work with a formidable representative group that is empanelled to lobby for the growth, development and welfare of the industry and its practitioners.
“We have no hidden agenda and we will not be part of anything that will stifle the growth of the burgeoning industry.”
He explained that MOPICON was not an attempt to set up another content regulatory agency or another parastatal of government.
He said it would remain an industry-run lobby and pressure body that would foster the achievement and maintenance of the highest professional and commercial standards in the motion picture industry.
Mohammed recalled that MOPICON history dated back to the 1990s and government intention was not to reinvent the wheel but to build on the good efforts of those who toiled hard to set it up.
He, therefore, solicited the support of the practitioners and stakeholders to achieve the laudable plans of the government for the movie industry.
Specifically, he urged the various interest groups to rise above their differences and work toward the harmonisation of their positions.
“I have no doubt that things will change for the better for Nollywood once you all work toward properly setting up MOPICON.
“I believe that like APCON, MOPICON will emerge the most important intervention tool that Nollywood requires to address some of its structural deficiencies.”
The minister gave the 28-member committee three weeks to submit its reports.
Coordinator of the committee, Mrs Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, commended the minister for the initiative, noting that MOPICON would help to identity professionals in the industry and serve as lobby group between government and practitioners.
She agreed with the minister that disunity was one of the major challenge of the industry “because everybody wants to be on top, not realising that creativity is a circle.”
She said the committee and the Council, when established, would help to unite practitioners.
Some members of the committee are Fred Amata, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Anthony Ani, Fidelis Eweta and Kingsley Ogoro.
Also in the committee are Stephanie Okereke, Kate Henshaw, Sa’id Balogun, Dele Odule and Paul Obazele.

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