Entertainment programmes meant for Nigerians must be produced here, minister insists

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a group picture with dignitaries during his visit to COSON House in Lagos on Saturday

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has denied saying that the Federal Government will ban the production of Nigerian movies and music abroad.

Several media organisations had reported the minister announcing the ban at an event held in his honour at the weekend by the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).

Speaking at a news briefing at the end of a two-day Creative Industry Financing conference with the theme ‘Financing the Film, Television and Music Industries,’ held at Eko Hotel, Alhaji Mohammed clarified what he said about the amendment to the NBC Code to discourage production of Nigerian movies and music abroad.

The minister equally reiterated his decision that any programme meant for Nigerians must be produced in Nigeria, saying he was not appointed minister to develop the economy of other countries at the expense of Nigeria’s.

In a statement in Lagos yesterday, the minister said the creative industry’s potential of creating 1million jobs in three years cannot be realized if jobs meant for Nigerians are being exported to other countries under the guise of producing, in other countries, programmes to be consumed in Nigeria.

“I didn’t say that henceforth, all music videos and films will be produced in Nigeria, or that the production of music videos or films outside Nigeria will be banned. All I said was that if a programme is designated as a Nigerian (local) content programme, we will amend the Code to ensure that it is produced in Nigeria,’’ he said, adding: “On that, there is no going back.”

The minister recalled how his office was bombarded with calls from concerned Nigerians when the last edition of the Big Brother Naija was produced in South Africa, saying he subsequently directed the National Broadcasting Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the controversy.

‘’Following the findings, we decided to amend the relevant sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to prevent a repeat of that development. We are now in the process of doing that, so that anyone who intends to produce a reality show or similar programmes for Nigerians cannot take the production of such shows outside Nigeria.

“Nigerians are a very proud and resourceful people, and we are sure that no Nigerian will be against a decision to prevent the jobs that can be done in Nigeria by Nigerians from being exported to other countries,’’ he said.

The minister said broadcasting code is also being amended to help develop the local football league.

“This (amendment) is not just about the creative industry. We are also going to ensure that the NBC Code is amended in a manner that if any company in Nigeria today invests a million dollars in promoting or supporting any (football) team or league outside Nigeria, I want the Broadcasting Code to be amended to the effect that it will not allow that programme to be aired unless that company supports the Nigerian League with a percentage that will not be less than 30 per cent of what was spent.

“This is because we cannot continue to develop the economies of the other parts of the world from the sweat of Nigerians and at the expense of the Nigerian economy,’’ the minister said.

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COSONLai Mohammed


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