By Hauwa Abubakar
Nigerians have taken to social media to criticise popular Actor, Desmond Elliot’s call on the Nigerian government to deliberately reduce the inflow of movies to the country in order to harness local content through a ban on foreign content.
Desmond, who is also a Lawmaker at the Lagos state Assembly in an interview with Nigerian cable network Hip TV, said the ban on foreign content should be treated like the ban on rice imposed by the federal government.
“First they need to create an enabling environment for this industry to thrive. Secondly, they need to consciously, intentionally focus on building the industry. Treat it like you’re importing rice. Okay, you know, so you ban all foreign content. You know, make it difficult for foreign content to come in, so your local content can grow,” he said.
The Nollywood Actor-turned politician is of the opinion that the film industry has huge potential to grow the Nigerian economy if harnessed.
“That is why we need to turn to a sector like entertainment with enormous economic potential to grow the economy and move it out of recession,” he once said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
However, Nigerians appear to have not taken these comments in good light as they took to social media to react.
With Desmond Elliot being one of the major trending topics on Twitter and Instagram, social media users lamented how Nollywood still needs to improve on content quality and focus less on quantity.
Dr PamPam @thepamilerin said on Twitter that, if that were to happen, then the Nigerian music industry should expect a ban on its content abroad as well.
Desmond Elliot said the Nigerian Government Should ban Abroad movies from coming into the country, so that we all can always go to the cinemas to watch Koto Aye, Aki n PawPaw Part 1-5. The abroad should be ready to ban Nigerian Music too.
— Dr. PamPam | Omo Iya Ologi (@thepamilerin) July 22, 2019
Others also underscored how globalisation has made both film and the music industry gain appreciation across boarders. King No-No @Zaddy_nomso tweeted:
”We did not ban Foreign Music for NG Music to grow Desmond Elliot. NG Music evolved, grew & today Wizkid & Co are in Beyonce’s Album. If Nollywood can stop the constant fetishness,…& take their time to write creative story lines they”ll surely grow!!!”
Nigerian music artists and actors alike have been gaining recognition on global platforms, with many filmmakers and acts winning awards at global events, while featuring at international festivals.
Nollywood had a good outing at the recently concluded Cannes festival in France, where experts brainstormed on how to move the African film sector forward and present it to a wider global audience.
Just recently, Singer, Burna Boy won a BET Award for best international act and Wizkid among others were listed among acts billed to participate in Beyoncé’s upcoming musical “ Lion King:The Gift”
The Nigerian film industry, popularly known as Nollywood is the second-largest film industry in the world by volume with a large following in Africa and among Africans around the world. Nollywood generates $590 million annually.