Executive Secretary, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, Mr. Bamidele Balogun has said that the distribution and sale of uncensored and pirated films in the State has reduced drastically in the last few months.
He made the statement when members of the State chapter of Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria PMAN) paid him a working visit in his Ikeja office.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Board, Mrs. Bankele Okedara, quoted Mr. Balogun as attributing this development to the unrelenting efforts of the Board as well as the cooperation of stakeholders in carrying out enforcement raids on major illegal distribution channels and outlets in the State.
He stated that the Board was set up to regulate the film and video industry in Lagos State and it owes it a duty to ensure adherence to the law and protect the interest of legitimate practitioners in the film industry in the State.
Balogun said a number of raids were carried out in some parts of the State in the last one year and 48 people were arrested and prosecuted for illegally selling uncensored and pirated films. He revealed that some of the raids were done in collaboration with some associations within the industry.
He admitted that the Board is not empowered to tackle piracy, but it assisted stakeholders in arresting those involved in the activity on the grounds that such works may not have undergone censorship procedures.
He also disclosed that the Board had an understanding with the State Chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) with respect to assisting the Board to rid motor parks and garages of illegal film sellers and this arrangement had greatly helped the Board.
“Based on the unrelenting efforts of the Board in curbing the activities of illegal marketing of uncensored and pirated films, I can categorically say that the activities of these people have reduced to a large extent and I am happy with the development”.
“What this shows us that we are gradually winning the war against them but this will not make us to relent on our oars. We will continue to carry out enforcement exercises until Lagos is free of uncensored and pirated films”, he said.
He revealed that the law of the Board is being reviewed by the Lagos State Law Reform Commission to empower it to censor audio and visual musicals. He pledged the support of the Board to PMAN stating that the body is one of the responsible associations within the industry that has met its obligations to the State.
The Governor-General of the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Sir Kareem Osoba thanked the Executive Secretary for the reception and expressed the readiness of PMAN as a body to cooperate with the Board to achieve its objectives whilst at the same time seeking for the assistance of the Board in its activities.