Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday called for collaborative efforts by stakeholders in the creative industry to ensure protection of their intellectual property.
Mohammed made the call in Abuja during the premiere of a movie, “My Name is Kadi”, an entertaining love story intertwined with curbing corruption and child talent development.
The movie, which was produced by Aisha Mohammed, starred artists like Blossom Chukwujekwu, Kenneth Okolie, Tina Mba, Slyvya Oluchy, Jide Bolarinwa and Josephine Ramos.
The minister said the government was contributing its quota to curb piracy but there was need to engage the creative industry practitioners.
“It is clear to the government that we must protect intellectual property of our artists.
“We have laws already in place but some people are of the view that some of the laws are not even strong enough.
“Like the penalty for pirating might need to be strengthened a bit but more importantly, I think the creative industry must work with government and the Police to win a more effective war against piracy,” Mohammed said.
According to him, many parts of the world have a Police unit devoted to the protection of intellectual property of their artists and Nigeria should key into such practice.
Mohammed said the government could have the political will but lacked the wherewithal to ensure piracy is curbed.
“To achieve protection of the intellectual property of our artists, you must work with the real stakeholders in the business.
“The real stakeholders are the film makers, the film producers and distributors; they must come together with government.
“The government may have the political will but not have the wherewithal.
“We in the creative industry can work with the Police, provide the Police not just with the equipment but also with narratives and training,” Mohammed said.
He said that most enforcement agents did not understand the difference between pirated products and original products.
Mohammed said that advocacy on curbing piracy should be at the front burner of the creative industry practitioners and the government.
According to him, they must let the world know that buying pirated products is like destroying the efforts and future of the artists.
The Production Coordinator of the movie, Nonso Nwachukwu, said funding was the major challenge in producing the movie in Abuja.
Nwachukwu said that Abuja lacked the craze for entertainment and they had to pay their way all through the process of production.
“People should soften and embrace entertainment, especially in the Federal Capital Territory before the government can come in to assist.
“We are just trying to break the walls for entertainment here because nobody wants to give out their houses for movie shooting,” he said.
One of the key characters in the movie, Blossom Chukwujekwu, said bringing out the best of every role in a movie required research.
Chukwujekwu said it was mostly challenging to bring out the uniqueness of each character.
He, however, mentioned that viewers of the movie should expect to be happy, adding that it was a family film that portrayed love as unconditional.