The Federal Government on Monday pledged to make the establishment of Motion Picture Council of Nigeria (MOPICON), a regulatory body for the movie industry, a reality.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the pledge in Lagos when he received the report of the Review Committee on the establishment of the Council.
Speaking after he was handed the reviewed document by the Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Mohammed said government would immediately kick-start the process for the Council’s establishment.
He added that “let me sincerely thank members of the Committee for their hard work over the past several months. In particular, I commend their selfless service.
“I sincerely hope that their sacrifice and hard work will yield fruits by leading to the establishment of MOPICON.
“We will critically look at the reviewed draft document, which you have handed over to us, and immediately kick-start the process of making MOPICON a reality for the benefit of the movie industry.”
The minister cleared the air on the controversy that followed the inauguration of the review Committee on April 12.
He clarified that government had no hidden agenda and would not be part of anything that would stifle the growth of the burgeoning industry.
“I have followed the debate that ensued among stakeholders in the aftermath of the inauguration of the Review Committee.
“Some argued that government has no business in helping Nollywood to set up a self-regulatory structure, while others are of the contrary opinion.
“Let me restate that our role in helping to set up MOPICON is simply to enable Nollywood to play
meaningful role in national development.
“Again, one of the ways we think we can tackle frontally the many challenges militating against professional and career fulfillment in the movie industry is to have a central body we can always refer to in decisions to improve the industry.
‘“Our interest in setting up MOPICON is driven by the fact that, as supervising ministry, we need to work with a formidable representative group to lobby for the growth, development and welfare of the industry and its practitioners.
“This will make for a better organised and more visible and vibrant Nollywood industry.”
In her remarks, Anyim-Osigwe said members of the Committee were unanimous in their decision to support the establishment of MOPICON.
She added that “what we come to understand and appreciate is that a Council of some sorts is required in order to make this industry work.
“How this Council will operate, we have advised in the document.”
She noted that in drafting the report, the Committee took into consideration all shades of opinions from stakeholders in the industry.
She added that “in this document, we have taken cognisance of all the guilds and associations and we have also taken into cognisance the uproar in the media about MOPICON and what it stands for and the misconception of what it is not.” (NAN)