The Nigerian government recently announced measures to discourage local artists from shooting music videos abroad.
The government also plans to sanction the production of movies, reality shows, and entertainment programs outside the country.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed made these new regulations known in Lagos when he paid a visit to the headquarters of the Copyright Society of Nigeria in mid-July, according to NAN.
The minister described the situation where movies and TV shows made for local consumption were produced in foreign countries as untenable.
Mohammed added, if left unchecked, it could reverse the growth of the local industry and stifle development in the entertainment sector and the nation’s economy in general.
“This government has agreed that henceforth, whatever we consume in Nigeria in terms of music and films, must be made in Nigeria.
“We cannot continue to go to South Africa or any other country to produce our films and then send them back to be consumed in Nigeria.
“The Broadcasting Code and the Advertising Code are very clear on this.
“For you to classify a product as a Nigerian product, it must have a certain percentage of Nigerian content,” Mohammed explained.
A Rough Recession
In its response to the worst economic recession to hit the country in decades, the Nigerian government launched the “Buy Nigerian to Grow the Naira” campaign, which is meant to promote local consumption of made-in-Nigerian products to stimulate growth in one of Africa’s biggest economies.
The minister also stressed that the country was losing jobs daily in the entertainment sector due to the practice of shipping out production to foreign countries.
“As long as we are not able to implement our own code to ensure local production of Nigerian music and movies, our young talents will not get jobs.
“It is Nigerians that pay for the consumption of these products, and therefore, they must be allowed and encouraged to participate in their production.
“I am going to meet with the relevant stakeholders over this to see that whatever amendment that is needed to be made to our Broadcasting Code in this regard is done urgently, ” he said.
The minister’s remarks, however, have drawn condemnation from a cross-section of Nigerians, including stakeholders in the entertainment industry.
Jude Okoye, the manager of Nigerian pop group P-square, took to his Instagram page to slam the proposed plan by the minister, describing it as ludicrous considering that the Nigerian entertainment industry grew quite organically with near-zero input from the authorities:
An industry they never encouraged, supported or empowered is what they now want to control. Let all of you stop running to abroad when you are sick.
You people are the ones refusing to fix our health facilities so you travel out when mosquito bite ‘una.’ So why tell us where to record when you can’t provide uninterrupted power here in Nigeria. Sometime I wonder how we got it all wrong.