The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has thrown its weight behind the call for Nollywood, the 2nd largest film industry in the world, to be repositioned in order to promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, saying the film medium is a veritable platform to positively influence the behaviour and attitude of the people.

President Buhari made this known on Tuesday, 4th August, 2015 at the opening ceremony of the 28th Annual International Conference of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA 2015), hosted by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja-FCT, on the theme: “Repositioning Nollywood for the promotion of Nigeria’s Cultural Diplomacy and National Security.”

EjeRepresented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, President Buhari said since Nollywood is a national asset that can be used to promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage internationally, government will do whatever needs to be done to assist the industry to achieve its maximum potentials.

“I wish to reassure practitioner that Nollywood will be assisted by government to achieve its maximum potentials. Relevant agencies of government will also be empowered and given a fresh mandate to deal with the menace of piracy, which has become an albatross to both practitioners and government,” the President said.

According to him, repositioning Nollywood will give the nation a veritable platform to promote it’s cultural diplomacy objectives as well as make the country attractive for tourists and direct foreign investments (DFI).

He maintained that an industry that generates about $600 million annually for the economy requires serious attention, saying, “I am fully convinced that through Nollywood, our own film industry, our cultural values will be revived.”

IMG 0081 copyWhile expressing regret that the exposure to foreign films has negatively influenced Nigerians, especially the youths, which has resulted in moral decadence and erosion of our cherished cultural values, Buhari who said his administration is committed to revamping the economy in the midst of dwindling oil price, commended NICO and SONTA for organizing the event, designed to address critical and topical issues of national concern.

On the issue of security in the country, the President reiterated his administration’s resolve to erect and maintain efficient and disciplined security structures, capable of making Nigeria a safe place for citizens and foreigners alike, and therefore called on all Nigerians to support and cooperate with each other in order to appreciate the enormous socio-economic and political benefits of living in peace and harmony.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja