Film Video Producers Seek 20-Year Jail Term Against Pirates

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…say Nollywood makes over 5percent of Nigeria’s GDP

By CHUKS EKE

Authorities of Film/Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria, FVPMAN have called on relevant authorities to adopt stiffer penalties against pirates in the country, to avoid bastardizing the Nollywood industry which they estimated at over 5.1 billion dollars and which makes upto five percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product,GDP.

Specifically, they recommended an upward of 15 to 20 years of imprisonment without option of fine against such offenders to deter others, stressing that although the relevant section of the law concerning piracy has lacuna and loopholes which enables offenders to escape punishments, there is a dire need to give teeth to those relevant sections.

Chairman of Onitsha branch of the association, Mr. Emeka Igwemba who made the call in Onitsha, Anambra state, during an official opening ceremony of their newly completed branch secretariat located inside Onitsha Electronics Market, lamented that World Bank data has a proof that for each legitimate copy of Nigerian home movie sold, nine others are pirated (90 percent Piracy).

Flanked by notable movie producers, including Okwudili Nwankwo of Okwutex Ventures Limited; Amos Onwe of Danga Movies Limited; Chief Andy Nnadi of Andy Best Limited; Emma Isikaku, Chairman of the occasion; Kingsley Oguejiofor of Filmark Productions Limited; Rob Emeka Eze of Remmy Jees Production Limited; Hon Joel Jumbo Munonye; Ralph Nwadike; the Pioneer President of the association and incumbent Board of Trustees Chairman, Prince Osita Okeke Oguno (Ossy Affason) and Barrister Ejike Efobi, legal counsel to the association, Igwemba contended that this canker-worm has eaten deep into the return on investment of movie producers.

They also solicited for government assistance in providing Grants, Film village and logistics saying that these would not only make the Nollywood industry more glamorous and lucrative but also boost the country’s revenue generation and at the same time create more employment opportunities for our teeming youths.

“Piracy is a cancer that fritters away the return on investment of movies producers. These callous devils from the pit of hell pounce on finished products for easy gain. The hottest part of hell awaits Nigerian movie pirates”, they cursed.

They also identified video rental outlets, showing of movies on various national and international television stations without the consent and approval of the producers as some other characteristics which are at the forefront of pirating Nigerian home movies.

They therefore urged the government to as a matter of necessity, fortify laws that will protect intellectual properties in the country, particularly Nigerian movies which according to them, has a revenue generating venture that also creates employment opportunities for millions of people in the country.

Highlight of the occasion included the bestowal of Legends Awards to 21 movie producers, Posthumous Awards to three late colleagues and Special Recognition Awards to two others, including Mrs. Regina Daniels Ned Nwoko and Prophet Chukwuemeka Ohanaemelu (Odumeje).

Those bestowed with the Legends Awards were the Pioneer President of the association and incumbent Board of Trustees, BoT Chairman, Prince Sir. Osita Okeke Oguno (Ossy Affason), Rob Emeka Eze, former Chairman of the association and incumbent BoT Secretary; Cornelius Ucheama of Coruma International Limited, Andy Nnadi of Andy Best productions, among others.

The opening ceremony was conducted with a special prayer officiated by the Sub-dean of All Saints Cathedral Anglican Church, Diocese on the Niger, Onitsha, Ven. Obiora Uzochukwu, who charged Nollywood actors, producers and marketers to be upright in the pursuit of the career, since according to him, there is life after death.

In their separate speeches, the Executive Director of National Film & Video Census Board, NFVCB, Alhaji Thomas Adedayo; his Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC counterpart, John Assein, pledged to intensify the fight against piracy in the movie industry, adding that henceforth, anyone caught would be brought to book.

Anambra State Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Wealth Creation, Hon. Uchenna Okafor who represented Governor Willie Obiano at the occasion, assured the association that the state would remain the safest in terms of security of lives and properties which he said would in turn, guard the members against the bandits while shooting their movies at any time of the day or night. 

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