(The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle), with a delegation of African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOC) when they visited him in Abuja on Friday).
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the Federal Government will not be stampeded into abandoning its ongoing efforts to amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to ensure the production in Nigeria of ‘Nigerian content or local content’ programmes.
The Minister stated this in Abuja on Friday when he received a delegation from the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOC), led by its Nigerian representative, Dr. Tunji Asaolu John.
He said those who deliberately twisted his comments to allege that the Federal Government will ban the shooting of films and music videos abroad are being mischievous, and reaffirmed government’s commitment to protecting local creative talents and generating employment.
“We will not be intimidated or stampeded by anybody,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He said the amendment of the Code will also encourage people to invest in the establishment of world-class studios in Nigeria to guarantee that producers get the same quality of work as obtained abroad.
“We are not going to export jobs to other countries and say our economy will grow. Most of the arguments which are being proffered, honestly, are unrealistic. One of them said where in Nigeria are we going to produce our music and our films when there are no studios.
What they don’t understand is that nobody is going to invest in (building studios) in Nigeria if the law allows you to go and do the same thing outside Nigeria,” the Minister said.
He said the Federal Government is consciously developing the Creative Industry in its renewed drive to diversify the economy away from oil.
The Minister pledged the ministry’s support for the African Festival of Arts and Culture, to be hosted in Nigeria in November.
Earlier, Dr. Asaolu said the AU is currently implementing Agenda 2063, which is a framework to promote growth and social development in Africa.
“Out of this Agenda 2063, Aspiration No. 5 talked about Africa with strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics. Sir, even this aspirations alone if you put it out to the market it can solve the problems that we are facing in Africa,” he said.
The AU-ECOSOC, which is the AU’s platform for the Civil Society, used the opportunity of the courtesy visit to confer the Distinguished Fellowship of African Arts and Culture on the Minister.