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Lai Mohammed reacts to backlash over ban of video production abroad

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Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has reacted to backlash from some quarters over the ban of movie and music production abroad, saying the decision has the best interest of Nigerians at heart.

Many Nigerian celebrities, including singer Peter Okoye of P-Square, had criticised the Federal Government move, saying entertainers have freedom shoot their visuals anywhere they want.

READ ALSO: APC youths calls for arrest of Peter Okoye over criticism on video production abroad

Clarifying the issue in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday, the minister said he was misunderstood, and that he did not say all movies must be produced in Nigeria, but that Code would be amended to allow local programme to be produced 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. On that, there is no going back”, the minister said.

Mr. Muhammed also noted that he wasn’t appointed Minister of Culture to promote the economy of other countries at the expense of Nigeria economy.

According to him, the Creative Industry’s potential of creating 1 million jobs in three years cannot be realized if jobs meant for Nigerians were being exported to other countries under the guise of producing in other countries, programmes to be consumed in Nigeria.

Also commenting on the Big Brother Naija TV reality show that was staged in South Africa, the minister said that ”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.”

Mohammed said the Broadcasting Code was also being amended to help develop the local football league.

He added, ”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.”

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