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Portray Nigeria, EFCC in good light, Bawa tasks film industry stakeholders

By Paul Michael

The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has tasked stakeholders in the film and movie industry to portray Nigeria and the EFCC in good light.

Bawa gave the charge on Thursday when the Executive Director, National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Alhaji Adedayo Thomas led other stakeholders in the industry on a Courtesy visit to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

The EFCC boss who appreciated the commitment, passion, originality, and creativity of operators and stakeholders in the industry, enjoined them to work with the Commission in areas beneficial to the country.

Bawa said, “the relationship can be established, the relationship is welcome, and we have a full-fledged Department of Public Affairs headed by a director. We can develop, we can work together and we can give you stories.

“We can also give you our own modus operandi which you can use to portray us in a good light because Nigeria is the only country that we have. You can make or mar the reputation of the country by the way you are depicting it, not only the EFCC but also Nigerians as a whole.”

While highlighting the impact of the industry on Nigerians, Bawa stated that “Nollywood has succeeded in employing millions of Nigerians, contributing its quota in terms of revenue generation in this country, has succeeded in taking Nigeria beyond the shores of this country.

“We can work together; we can partner together; we can as well help one another in terms of contributing our quota towards the betterment and portrayal of this country in a very good light.

Bawa specifically charged the operators to work with the EFCC in beaming the searchlights on the activities of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML). He said the Unit, which the new Money Laundering (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2022, vested in the EFCC, “needs publicity and enlightenment campaigns which your group can offer.”

“The government has agreed with us, the National Assembly have passed the laws, we are working hand in gloves to ensure that we are taking this SCUML to where it ought to be, not where it is now, and I want the Nollywood to ensure that they take SCUML to where it ought to be and not where it is today and of course to encourage Nigerians to even provide the necessary publicity that ‘look, we have this Unit and this is the aim and this is the work’. Most of the stories can be built around it in terms of money laundering, in terms of fighting corruption,” Bawa stated.

Earlier, Alhaji Thomas intimated the EFCC about the activities of his Board.

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“I swung into action by constituting a National Taskforce to tackle the syndicates who specialize in pirating works of others and flooding the market with unclassified and uncensored films and video works,” he said.

According to him, the economic saboteurs inflicted untold hardships on the filmmakers by making them not recoup their investment.

“They also constitute a leakage in government revenue as they flood the market with unclassified contents, thereby denying the government of revenue derivable from classifying those films,” he added.

Thomas urged the EFCC to assist the Board to bring the pirates to book and evolve ways for filmmakers to collaborate with it and make movies that will publicize the activities of the Commission in combating economic and financial crimes.

On his part, National President, Directors Guild of Nigeria, Victor Okhai, commended the EFCC for its impact in tackling economic and financial crimes across the country, stressing that the Commission needed the experience, exposure, passion, and drive of filmmakers to create more awareness about its works.

“We can trust you, work with you, and partner with you. We are pleased to ask you: how can we support the work you do,” he said.

Other speakers that proposed the same publicity drive for the EFCC include Agatha Amata, Managing Director, Inside out Media Limited, and Hilda Dokuba, Executive Director, Centre For Creative Arts, among others.

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