Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: 'No Rift Between Nigerian, Ghanaian Film Dealers'

Ghana — Nigerian film narketers have not banned the sale of Ghanaian films in Nigeria, as it is being touted in the media, the Film Distributors Association of Ghana has said.

The Secretary General of the Association, Mr. John Issah on Thursday dispelled rumors making the rounds of a rift between the operators of the film industry in both countries, describing the reports as "bogus".

There have been widespread reports of a cold war between Ghanaian and Nigerian film marketers, which prompted the later to place an embargo on the sale and distribution of Ghanaian films in the country.

Reports were also rife that the Ghanaians in a reprisal move had also banned the sale of Nigerian films in their country.

This is just as the President of the Nigerian Movie Producers Association, Zheik Zulu Okafo, has refuted a story credited to the Onitsha branch chairman of the Film, Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN), Uzo Godson Nwosu that Ghanaian movies have been banned in Nigeria.

The Secretary General of the Film Distributors Association maintained that the reports were mere fabrications, because they have been communicating with their Nigerian counterparts and in no time were they informed of such development.

"If they say they have banned Ghanaian films in Nigeria we will not take it serious, until we are officially informed by the executives that they had resolved to ban our films. The news is bogus, it is mere rumour.

"We have called the chairman in Onitsha and the chairman in Lagos. They told us that there is nothing like that. Even the reports that were carried in the newspapers were not credited to the officials," he defended.

On the allegation that Ghanaian marketers do not market Nigerian films in Ghana, he denied them flatly, insisting that Nigerian films were being distributed by them.

"If they say Ghanaians do not market their films in Ghana, you are a witness to this. This chart I am holding shows that from the 15th of February to 4th July this year, not less than 40 Nigerian films have been released into our markets. So, if they are basing the purported ban on rumours, I will say categorically that it is a big lie," he declared.

Isah revealed that he was looking forward to a deeper business collaboration between them, as he revealed that he has mooted the idea of a workshop between their members and their Nigerian counterparts.

He blamed the alleged face-off on some agents who do not belong to their association, who go about spreading rumours for economic advantage.

He said just last week he was informed that a Ghanaian film was released into the Nigerian market and that it was being sold by Nigerian marketers.

At the Opera Square, Accra the hub of the film industry in the nation's capital, there were posters colorfully displaying Nigerian films.

In one of the shops, the Manager, who gave his name as Kwame disclosed that two Nigerian films were released on Wednesday. One of the films 'Moving Party' he reported was in hot demand and had been selling very well.

He also revealed that every week at least eight films were released into the market, five Ghanaian and three Nigerian. He said Monday was reserved for the release of Ghanaian films and Wednesdays for Nigerian films.

He described the alleged face-off as unfortunate and bad for business for movie makers in both countries.

According to him, most of the film producers and distributors had invested heavily in both industries, that it will be misplaced to label them as either Ghanaian or Nigerian producers.

According to him, the producers usually buy the franchise for some films produced in the counterpart country and market in their own country.

The movie distributor insisted that sales have been good on both ends, notwithstanding the purported rift between movie marketers in both countries.

He commended the quality of some of Nigerian films, attributing the huge sales on the quality of work.

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