The federal government has said it seized uncensored, unclassified and pirated films worth over N300 million and prosecuted five suspected pirates in 2017. Mr Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) made the disclosure on Friday while briefing the NFVCB Board members on its operations for the past year. Thomas said that the items were confiscated at Alaba International Market, Lagos, Kubwa, Banex Plaza and Wuse Market in Abuja, as well as Benin City in Edo, and then in Kaduna.
According to him, the seized items include; production equipment, DVD’s, CD copies of 20 in 1 video films, unclassified foreign and local films, as well as pornographic materials. He added that the suspects arrested during the period were already charged to court in accordance with the enabling laws of the board. “Our enforcement drive resulted to the removal of these unapproved film and video works with street value of over N300 million. “This will serve as deterrent and also prevent such illegal products from selling in the market at the expense of genuine ones.
“The creative industry is acclaimed to have contributed 1.4 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP, and it can do more for owners, producers and distributors of films and video works to get value from their investment. “If the sector is in a mess, investors will not come, that is why we are cleaning the market for the film owners to enjoy the rewards for their works,’’ he said.
Thomas noted that the prosecution of five suspects secured by the board during the year was its first since it was established. He attributed the success recorded by the board during the period to the unrelenting activities of its Task Force, a body constituted to champion the raid of illegal film outlets across Nigeria. He added that the board has secured the collaboration of the Nigerian Police Force, which has speed up the arrest and prosecution of film and video business offenders.
Thomas said the Task Force’s mandate was to rid the Nigerian market of unapproved distributions, unlicensed distributors and exhibitors, among other functions. “The Task Force was able to carry out strategic enforcement against films and video works not licensed for distribution in Nigeria. “It is to also halt persons not licensed to carry out distribution of films and video works in Nigeria, especially at the popular film and video distribution hub call Alaba International Market,’’ he said.
Thomas said that the board, having noticed the increasing rate of illegal distribution of films on You-tube and other internet platforms, has reviewed its online distribution framework in collaboration with Google and other relevant stakeholders. He added that filmmakers now realize increase revenue from cinemas because of the unrelenting monitoring of the cinemas by the board.