The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the Federal Government would continue to provide an enabling environment for the growth of the creative industry in the country.
Mohammed made this statement at the Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos during the premiere of the movie, “The Bridge’’, produced by Lasun Ray and directed by Kunle Afolayan.
The minister said that the film industry was one of the best sectors where Nigeria had begun to export its products to the world because it was an area the country had a comparative advantage in.
“For the past two years, efforts had been made by the government to provide an enabling environment that will support the growth of the industry by simplifying access to funds.
“Earlier this year, I led a team to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where we looked at the possibilities of raising over $1Billion as intervention fund for the development of the industry.
“The provision of an enabling environment will further attract private corporate sponsorship which is key to the development of any industry in the world,” he said.
Mohammed said that the government was also aware of the various challenges stifling the growth of the industry such as piracy, lack of infrastructure, and finance among other things.
“We have concluded plans to provide $20 Million loan to build 100 cinemas all over the country.
“This is done by getting state governors involved in the development of the industry through the provision of incentives to support and encourage the growth of the industry,” he said.
The minister also said that an anti-piracy task force committee had been set up to combat the adverse effects of piracy in the industry.
“We have the support of the Inspector General of Police who has promised to set up an Intellectual Property Unit in each command in the nation,” he said.
The minister said that the film industry was unique because it helped to preserve history and pass on knowledge to the future generations about things that had occurred in the past.
He urged film producers and directors to go back to history and produce films that would depict occurrences of the colonial areas in Nigeria.
“The big stories that happened between 1854 and 1960 during the colonial era are still waiting to be told, so also are those stories during the military regime.
“If we do not tell these stories now, many of us that have firsthand information of what happened then will pass-on, robbing the next generation of vital information,” he said.
Mohammed said that he was impressed with the film `The Bridge’ because it had a cultural undertone which depicted how intolerance and lack of understanding could be a stumbling block to unity.
Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde, commended the producer, director and casts of the movie saying that the movie’s cultural content was rich and educative.
“This movie will travel and sell all over the world because of the richness of its quality.
“It surely deserves the support of the Lagos State Government (LASG) as it is very much in tune with the development of the arts and culture,” he said.
Ayorinde said that LASG was currently reconstructing the Badagry axis of the state where an International Film Village would soon emerge.
“Lagos State is in tune with the Federal Government as far as the promotion of arts and culture is concerned, using it as an avenue to bring positive change to the nation, “he said.
NAN report that `The Bridge’ is a movie where Obadare, a Yoruba prince and Stella, a young lady from a distinguished Igbo family, had become a couple.
However, the marriage was being threatened by tribal prejudice and parental plans for the lives of each of their children.
After the couple had wedded secretly against their parents’ wishes, the consequence almost shook the very foundation and sustenance of both families.
Veteran actors such as Lere Paimo (Eda), Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello), Jimoh Aliu (Aworo), Lanre Hassan (Iya Awero) and Zack Orji starred in the movie.