31 March 2016
The Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON) Bill has stirred a lot of controversy and alarm in the Nigerian Film Making Industry these past few days.
Some film makers have written opposition articles. Others have taken to twitter and other social media platforms to vent. Using the hashtag, #NoToMoppicon, they have criticized the bill and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. According to one filmmaker, Chukwudi Obasi, ‘the bill is elitist and one-sided’. According to another filmmaker, ‘it is rather archaic’.
So what about the bill?
The bill was drafted ten years ago by a group of industry practitioners. It was never passed into law. However, the minister recently announced that a ministerial committee will be inaugurated on April 8th 2016 at the Conference Room of the National Theatre in Lagos with the aim of speeding up the process of passing the bill into law.
The bill proposes that before anyone can practice in any area of movie making in Nigeria, they must be a member of MOPPICON. It prohibits non-members from producing movies for gain and provides that when in breach, the non-member has to pay a hundred thousand Naira.
By virtue of the bill, no director or actor is allowed to take on more than one project at a time. No religion or form of worship shall be depicted in a manner that will expose it to ridicule.
These are the provisions of the bill amongst other things. The bill has since been criticised on grounds that it is not the solution to the problems surrounding the filmmaking industry and that it would kill the creativity in the Nigerian movie Industry once and for all.