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Create community theatres, Lai Mohammed tasks states, local councils

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By Taiye Olayemi

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, on Wednesday urged state governors and local government chairmen to prioritise establishment of community theatres across the country.

Mohammed made the call during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Conference on linking tourism, culture and the creative industries, held at Victoria Island, Lagos.

The minister, in one of the sessions of the conference, tagged “The Four Epochs of Nollywood: The Prospects, The Challenges”, commended the efforts of Nollywood practitioners.

He said that those community theatres would serve as distribution channels for the contents generated in the creative space.

“We have the talented people, we have the content but we lack the avenues for distribution, If we have one community theatre in each local government in the country, we will have 774 community theatres, we need them.

“I want to seize this opportunity to call on state governors and local government chairmen to build theatres across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria.

“The Federal Government cannot build community theatres alone, it is not done anywhere in the world, we can only create an enabling environment, give tax holidays and some other incentives,” he said.

Earlier, Nigerian Legendary Filmmaker, Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, advised filmmakers not to give room to western influence in the way stories were relayed in Nollywood films.

Ogunjiofor said that Nigerian filmmakers must focus on stories of high value and African content.

According to him, there is no reason a Nollywood filmmaker should allow his stories to be influenced by the western world because the brands are different.

“Foreign influence should not determine the stories we tell and how we tell them, we should focus on stories with high value,” he said.

According to him, Nollywood is confronted with lots of challenges ranging from piracy, access to funds and location, unfavorable policies, inadequate infrastructure for distribution and more.

He noted that to upscale the industry, these problems must be surmounted. (NAN)

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