The Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, has said that the Nigerian film industry has contributed to the nation’s poor international image.
Akunyili blamed the key operators of Nollywood for focusing on voodoo, crime and advance fee fraud (419) in their plots, to the exclusion of positive attributes of Nigerians in a bid to market their films.
Akunyili spoke at a training and community building workshop on film production organised by the Nigerian National Volunteer Service and Del York International in Abuja on Tuesday.
Interestingly, a versatile actor and prominent member of the Nollywood, Chief Pete Edochie, is the Rebranding Ambassador of the committee set up by Akunyili.
The minister noted that while the Federal Government was not against Nollywood’s choice of featuring existing vices in films, it was necessary for them to highlight these alongside the good attributes of Nigerians.
She commended the Managing Director of Del-York International, Mr. Linus Idahosa, for embracing human capital development in the film industry by planning to bring a foremost film training institute in the United States, the New York Film Academy, to Nigeria to train actors in February 2010.
Akunyili said that the time had come for Nollywood to positively project the image of the country.
She said, “We want extra commitment from Nollywood to stop projecting Nigeria negatively. We plead with you to project Nigeria, to tell the world the bad things we do. We cannot hide them.
“But let us also portray the good things we do so that we do not allow a few individuals to incriminate our innocence.”
She argued that if Nollywood had featured the financial contributions made by Nigerian civil servants to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa in the 70s and 80s in film production, the present generation of South Africans would not display hatred towards Nigerians.