The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has raided sections of Alaba International Market, Lagos, arrested and confiscated N50 million worth of pirated local and foreign movies, as well as effecting arrest of four kingpins.
At the parade of the confiscated films in Lagos, the NFVCB Executive Director, Adedayo Thomas said the raids that led to confiscation were carried out between August 12 and 15, 2017 with the support of officers of the Nigerian Police.
According to Thomas, the board received credible intelligence about pirates who specialized in the illegal and continuous dubbing of films that are intellectual properties of numerous filmmakers before swinging to action.
“In one of the shops, we discovered 103 bags of ready-to-be-exported pirated films. This is how the pirates make their businesses boom across the continent. They conduct mass piracy here and ship them to other countries. They will design like 10 different covers for just a film because they are many and are also in competition with one another. In most of the confiscated films, you will find up to ten films in a single disk.
“We want the public to be aware that what they are doing is illegal and that they have no permission whatsoever to dub and mass-produce classified, uncensored, censored, unlicensed, licensed films or to distribute other people’s intellectual property. The street value of what we have been able to confiscate is in the region of N50 million. And as you can see, films such as ‘Jenifa’s Diary’, ‘Wedding Party’, among others have been mass pirated. What we can tell them now is that the game is up. The four kingpins arrested have been taken to Abuja for further investigation while others who are on the run are going to be smoked out soon,” Thomas said.
The NFVCB Executive Director also warned Nigerians not to be patronizing the pirates, either for local or foreign movies. He said any foreign movie being sold in shops or by roadsides has not been licensed. He said the Cinema operators are the only people licensed to show foreign movies in the country.
A popular filmmaker, Igwe Gabosky also lamented what he described as the rampant cases of film piracy. He said as commendable as the raid was, the percentage of confiscated films by the board is still lower than one percent of what is in the hands of pirates across the country.