Nigerian Film Industry the Most Important Platform for Showcasing Nigerian Arts and Culture to the World’ – Lai Mohammed

Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the Nigerian Film Industry is now the most important platform for showcasing Nigerian arts and culture to the world.

Speaking in Abuja at the closing and award night ceremony of the 12th Edition of the Zuma Film Festival which was held on May 7, 2022 at the International Conference Centre, the Minister paid tribute to the creative giants whose hard work, ingenuity and persistence have firmly put Nigeria on the global entertainment and cinema map.

In his address, he pointed out that it is fitting that the Zuma Film Festival has not just been revived but has grown steadily, since the assumption of president Buhari’s administration. According to him, “Today we have witnessed another watershed. Abuja is now designated the official host city of Zuma Film Festival, in line with global best practices.”

He added that, as the astronomical growth of Nigeria’s film industry is celebrated, it is also important to critically examine whether the creative minds behind this phenomenal growth have reaped the benefits of their hard work.

Alhaji Mohammed noted that the trajectory of the Nigerian Film industry has been of great concern for the government, which explains the series of actions that have been taken under his leadership to bolster the industry which include leading a team to the Central Bank of Nigeria to make a case for single digit financing which has resulted in the Creative Industry Financing initiative by the banks and CBN; continuously making it clear to the international streaming companies that they must increase their local investment, including opening offices and increasing the local content on their platforms if they wish to do business in Nigeria; and coming up with a comprehensive report amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and have made such available to development banks like Afreximbank, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), etc, so they can better understand the sector and invest in Distribution and Production companies.

Additionally, he said in order to boost the exhibition revenues of the film industry, there was a partnership with the CBN and the Bankers Committee on the renovation of the National Theatre at a cost of $100 million. He said this is important because the iconic National Theatre was conceived as the hub of the Creative industry in Nigeria. Its renovation and the addition of four new hubs, including an international film production facility that covers production and post-production, will signify the restoration of the power of the industry and its preparation to play its huge role for Nigeria into the future.

The minister in his concluding remarks congratulated all the award winners in the various competitive categories and hoped that the award will spur them to greater heights and achievements in their professional careers.

He also congratulated the life time achievement recipients, saying it shows that this industry still remembers and appreciates those who laid the foundation for what has now emerged as one of the largest and recognizable brands in the world today.

He appreciated the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) for its collaboration with the Nigerian Film Corporation, and for its enormous support for the Zuma Film Festival and hoped that the preparations for next year’s film festival will commence in earnest, so that the successes recorded at this year’s event can be built on, with a view to making the city of Abuja a bright spot in the global film festival calendar.