By Anote Ajeluorou
Frustrated by the unrelenting activities of pirates creaming off handsome rewards from movies without breaking sweat, Nollywood moviemakers may took the matter to a head last week. Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Associations (CONGA) took their case to Lagos Police Commissioner, Prince Umar Manko in his Ikeja, GRA office, Lagos. Led by its president, Mr. Bond Emeruwa, CONGA told the commissioner to use his good offices to stem the unabating tide of piracy and “move thisfledgeling industry forward”.
Emeruwa charged the police chief to rouse his command to “set up a special unit to handle piracy through raids and other effective means” as a means of fighting the piracy cankerworm. He also identified Alaba International Market as “the headquarters of this criminal act”.
Emeruwa, who visited in company of his colleagues in a meeting facilitated by the president, Guild of Movie Journalists, Mr. Sunny Okim, stated, “Top on the list of challenges is piracy. Some elements are out there to reap where they did not sow and this is against the law of the state. We want to say that all multiple films in DVD are pirated works. We have identified the headquarters of this criminal act to be the Alaba International Market. We know the culprits; we have apprehended them several times but they have often slipped away because we lack the power of enforcement of the existing laws against piracy. Recently, we reported some of these enemies of progress to the police at Panti Street but when they later showed up with a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), it became a different story altogether”.
Emeruwa also solicited the assistance of the police high command to assist the film industry with props while acting as advisers on set as ways of fostering better image of the force in films.
On his part, Manko thanked the moviemakers for the visit and acknowledged that Nollywood had registered its name in the country and so deserved every assistance possible. He said apart from giving jobs to young Nigerians to take them off crime and contributing to the economy, the film industry was making people happy.
Manko stated, “Piracy is evil in nature. You use your talent and resources and somebody reaps where he didn’t sow. It’s a complete act of immorality. You have told us where they are; we have the responsibility to use your intelligence squarely. It’s unfortunate you’re indicting one of our ogas (a retired AIG); no police of his rank will want to get involved in aiding criminals. We’ll check the activities of our men in our locations.Importantly, we may make piracy subject of lecture to sensitise our men”.
Emeruwa then presented the police chief with originalDVDs with single films as gifts and the pirated DVDs with multiple films as well to acquaint him with the difference.
Other members of the delegation included president, Screenwriters Guilds of Nigeria, Mr. Chike Brian, president, Marketers Association, Mr. Emmanuel Isikaku, chairman, Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association, Lagos, Mr. Nobert Ajaegbu and Mr. Ozoemene Christopher.