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How Film Making came into existence in Nigeria (Part 1)

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The history of cinema in Nigeria dates back to as early as the history of film itself; notably in the late 19th century, with the use of peephole viewing of motion picture devices. 

These were soon replaced in early 20th century with improved motion picture exhibition devices; the first set of films shown in Nigerian theatres were Western films, with the first film screened at Glover Memorial Hall in Lagos from 12 to 22 August 1903.

In that year, Herbert Macaulay had invited to Nigeria, the Balboa and Company, Spain to organize an exhibition tour of silent films in Nigeria.

Although Mr Balboa later closed his exhibition in Lagos, while he continued showing films in other West African countries, the success of his exhibition led to a European merchant, Stanley Jones, to begin showing films in the same Glover Memorial Hall, starting from November 1903. This brought about the influx of more European film exhibitors to Nigeria. The first film hit in this early period came on 3 August 1904, when the documentary on the visit of the Alake of Abeokuta to England was screened.

 

READ ALSO: 10 Yoruba Stars that joined acting through their veteran actors parents

Colonial era (late 19th century – early 1960s)

Colonial filmmakers started producing films for local audiences within Nigeria since the 1920s, mostly employing the mobile cinema as a means of exhibition; the earliest feature film made in Nigeria is 1926’s Palaver produced by Geoffrey Barkas. The film was also the first film ever to feature Nigerian actors in a speaking role. Nigerian film actors featured in Palaver include Dawiya and Yilkuba. The film was shot amongst the Sura and Angas people of the present day Bauchi and Plateau States in Northern Nigeria, and narrates the rivalry between a British District Officer and a tin miner which leads to a war. Also in this era there were several films set in Nigeria, one of the most notable being 1935’s Sanders of the River by Zoltán Korda, featuring Nigerian actor Orlando Martins. Martins also featured in other notable films including The Man from Morocco (1945), Men of Two Worlds (1946) and so on, and this established Martins as one of the recognized Nigerian actors of his time. As of 1921, there were four other halls showing films twice a week in Lagos Mainland and one hall each in Ebute Metta and Oshodi. By this time, cinema had become popular in Lagos with crowds of young and old people usually waiting at the doors of theatre halls. Religion also aided in the expansion of cinema culture as the Christian missionaries used cinemas for religious propaganda.

As cinemas became a common feature of the social life in the then emerging city of Lagos, the late 1930s through 1940s marked the beginning of the establishment of big commercial cinema houses with branches in strategic parts of the country. One of the earliest cinema operators in Lagos was the “West African Pictures Company” owned by Mr. S. Khalil, a member of the Syrian community in Lagos. He established the Rex Cinema in Ebute Metta, Regal Cinema and Royal Cinema. Other popular cinema chains include: Capitol Cinema, Casino Cinema, Kings Cinema, Central Cinema, Rialto Cinema, Corona Cinema, Odeon Cinema, Road House Cinema, Ikeja Arms Cinema and Glover Hall. In 1937, the colonial government set up a Board of Censorship to handle matters relating to the establishment and operations of cinema houses in the colony. Nigerian content in films made and shown in Nigerian cinemas during this period were however virtually non-existent as the production and distribution were controlled by foreigners. Motion picture entertainment was as a result complemented by the Yoruba travel theatre groups, which emerged in the 1930s through 1940s; One of the most prominent were the Agbegijo and Alarinjo theatre groups, which featured theatre actors such as Duro Ladipo, Ishola Ogunmola, Lere Paimo, Oyin Adejobi, amongst others.

As cinemas became a common feature of the social life in the then emerging city of Lagos, the late 1930s through 1940s marked the beginning of the establishment of big commercial cinema houses with branches in strategic parts of the country. One of the earliest cinema operators in Lagos was the “West African Pictures Company” owned by Mr. S. Khalil, a member of the Syrian community in Lagos. He established the Rex Cinema in Ebute Metta, Regal Cinema and Royal Cinema. Other popular cinema chains include: Capitol Cinema, Casino Cinema, Kings Cinema, Central Cinema, Rialto Cinema, Corona Cinema, Odeon Cinema, Road House Cinema, Ikeja Arms Cinema and Glover Hall. In 1937, the colonial government set up a Board of Censorship to handle matters relating to the establishment and operations of cinema houses in the colony. Nigerian content in films made and shown in Nigerian cinemas during this period were however virtually non-existent as the production and distribution were controlled by foreigners. Motion picture entertainment was as a result complemented by the Yoruba travel theatre groups, which emerged in the 1930s through 1940s; One of the most prominent were the Agbegijo and Alarinjo theatre groups, which featured theatre actors such as Duro Ladipo, Ishola Ogunmola, Lere Paimo, Oyin Adejobi, amongst others.

In 1949 through 1950, the state of affairs changed a bit, with more Nigerian contents being exhibited in cinemas; with a purported drive to “Africanize” film production, the Nigerian Film Unit was established in order to decentralize colonial film production. The Colonial Film Unit, throughout the decade, exhibited health and educational films to local audiences through its mobile cinema vans. It also produced newsreels and short documentaries, depicting celebrations and colonial achievements to domestic and overseas audiences.

Golden Age (late 1950s – late 1980s)

After Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the cinema business rapidly expanded, with new cinema houses being established. However, there came a significant influx of American, Indian, Chinese and Japanese films; posters of films from these countries were all over theatre halls and actors from these industries became very popular in Nigeria. Towards the late 1960s and into the 1970s Nigerian productions in movie houses increased gradually, especially productions from Western Nigeria, owing to former theatre practitioners such as Hubert Ogunde, Ola Balogun, Moses Olaiya, Jab Adu, Isola Ogunsola, Ladi Ladebo, Sanya Dosumu and Sadiq Balewa amongst others, transitioning into the big screen.  The first fully commercial Nigerian films, shot on celluloid, were also made by these filmmakers in the 1960s.

In 1972, concerned about the influx of foreign culture into Nigeria, the Indigenization Decree was issued by the then head of state Yakubu Gowon; which demands the transfer of ownership of about a total of 300 film theatres in the country from their foreign owners to Nigerians. Also, more Nigerians started playing active roles in cinema establishment as a result of this policy. This transfer also resulted in the emergence of Nigerian playwrights, screenwriters and film producers; popular literature and theatre works were adapted into motion pictures. The oil boom of 1973 through 1978 contributed immensely to the spontaneous boost of the cinema culture in Nigeria. The presence of foreign investments led to the erection of several cinema complexes. In 1976, The 5000-capacity National Arts Theatre, Iganmu was constructed in Lagos. The theatre was incorporated with two cinemas, each having a capacity of over 700 people. At this time cinema business had become a notable employer of many people and also served as an important social function, as Nigerians visited cinemas for relaxation and entertainment purposes. The increased purchasing power in Nigeria also made a wide range of citizens to have disposable income to spend on cinema-going and on home television sets.

Television broadcasting in Nigeria began in the 1960s and received much government support in its early years. By the mid-1980s every state had its own broadcasting station. Law limited foreign content on television, so producers in Lagos began televising local popular theatre productions. Many of these were circulated on video as well, and a small-scale informal video movie trade developed. As of late 1980s, the cinema culture was beginning to face a major decline, and most Nigerian film producers had transitioned to television productions. The gradual decline of the Golden era of Nigerian cinema has been attributed to several factors, including the reduction in the value of Naira, lack of finance and marketing support, lack of standard film studios and production equipment, frequent Government structural adjustment programmes due to military dictatorships, as well as inexperience on the part of practitioners. The drastic decline in cinema culture resulted in some of the existing cinema houses being acquired by religious bodies and turned to churches; others were simply just closed down. In the early 1990s, only a few of the once vibrant cinema houses were still in operation, and all had collapsed before 1999.

Home Video Boom (late 1980s – mid 2010s)

The emergence of the video film market in Nigeria is traced back to the 1980s when television productions thrived. Jimi Odumosu’s Evil Encounter, a 1980 horror film released directly on television, was the first production to be a pointer to how lucrative making film directly on video can be. The film was extensively promoted before being aired on the television, and as a result, had streets flooded in the following morning with video copies of the recorded broadcast. It was reported that the film became an instant hit at Alaba market, a commercial district which later became the hub of video distribution in this period and also eventually became the hub of piracy in Nigeria. Since Evil Encounter, it became common, especially in Southern Nigerian cities to see video copies of recorded television programmes traded on the streets.

This method was adopted and built on by producers and distributors at Alaba Market to reinvent the film industry, since the Nigerian cinema culture was facing a major decline. The first film produced on video in Nigeria was 1988’s Soso Meji, produced by Ade Ajiboye. The film was also screened at the few available theatres at the time. Subsequently, Alade Aromire produced Ekun (1989) on video, which was screened at the National Theatre, Iganmu. However, the boom experienced in this era is generally believed to have been kickstarted by Kenneth Nnebue’s Living in Bondage (1992). Nnebue had an excess number of imported video cassettes which he then used to shoot his first film on a Video camera. Although Living in Bondage is often touted in the media as the “first commercial video film”, several historians have argued that the video film industry was already booming before Living in Bondage.

As of 2004, at least four to five films were produced every day in Nigeria. Nigeria movies now already dominate television screens across the African continent and by extension, the diaspora. The film actors also became household names across the continent, and the movies have significantly influenced cultures in many African nations; from way of dressing to speech and usage of Nigerian slangs. This was attributed to the fact that Nigerian films told “relatable” stories, which made foreign films to “gather dusts” on the shelves of video stores, even though they cost much less.

 

 

 

Watch Out 📢 📢 for Part 2


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Don’t accept wike’s deceptive Financial bribe- IPOB warns IMO communities

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IPOB

The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB has warned the people of Ohaji Local Government Area of Imo State against ceding their land to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.

IPOB cautioned the people of Ohaji against accepting Wike’s alleged satanic and deceptive financial inducement.

Emma Powerful, the spokesman of IPOB, issued the warning in reaction to an alleged illegal and undocumented ceding of communities in Ohaji Local Government Area to Wike.

Powerful warned that ceding their communities to Wike would affect their children’s future; hence such a deceptive move should be rejected.

He urged the communities to treat whoever is persuading them to change their state of origin as a criminal.

Powerful noted that accepting to change their state of origin for the sake of N150,000 monthly is evil.

A statement by Powerful reads partly: “Following an illegal undocumented treaty to cede communities of Ohaji Egbema LGA from Imo State to Rivers State via a crooked financial inducement by current Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

“We the global family and movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi KANU wish to warn that such project is called to a halt to avert inevitable consequences.

“We suggest to the communities that fall into this deceptive venture masterminded by Nyesom Wike to retrace their steps, considering that this singular act could attract futuristic destructive effects.

“IPOB was intimated with the information regarding Governor Wike’s plan, which includes conditional future promises and haven gone through these moves realized that Wike will abandon them in future because governor Wike cannot be in charge of Rivers State beyond his tenor as a current Governor.

“It is a known fact that the Imo State government failed in their obligations as it concerns the predicaments they are facing in that area, but they must forget Wike with his satanic offer. Wike’s deceptive offer would harm them and their children in the future as such may not be sustainable by successive governments. Moreover, the Biafra restoration approaches hastily.

“IPOB is advising them to retrace their steps and watch what God Almighty has in stock for them; changing God Almighty’s plans for children will harm the communities in the future, for God to have placed you where you are today does not mean that he has abandoned you.

“The communities or anybody persuading them to change their State of origin identity and be acquired like slaves with cash value of N150 (One Hundred and Fifty Naira Only) is evil and must be treated as criminal because we don’t see where old men and women, youths and educated people would allow such an undocumented territorial treaty due to hunger and abandonment.”


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2023 elections: Pastor David Ibiyeomie tells Nigerians who to vote

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Pastor David

Pastor David Ibiyeomieof Salvation Ministries has addressed Nigerians on those to vote ahead of the 2023 general elections

Ibiyeomie urged Nigerians to vote for politicians with a vision for the country and not a politician.

He gave the remark while addressing his members at the church’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Pastor David Ibiyeomie noted that anyone who collects money to vote in the forthcoming election sold their conscience, stressing that electorates should vote for a statesman.

According to Ibiyeomie: “If you take money to vote, then you have sold your conscience. When we are shouting, you people will say I don’t shout. I am shouting now. Don’t collect bribes to vote, vote for your conscience.

“Don’t vote party again in Nigeria; vote for someone who has a vision. Nigeria is in the woods; she needs someone who has a vision.

“No politician should be voted; vote for a statesman instead. A statesman thinks of the next generation, a politician thinks only of the 2023 general elections.”


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Interpol arrests three Nigerians for international scam

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Interpol

The International Police (INTERPOL) has arrested three Nigerians over alleged global scam.

The trio were arrested in a sting operation conducted simultaneously in a Lagos suburb, Ajegunle and in Benin City, 300 km to the East of the commercial capital.

One of the scammers, Hendrix Omorume has been charged and convicted and now faces a 12-month prison sentence.

The three men, aged between 31 and 38, were each arrested in possession of fake documents, including fraudulent invoices and forged official letters.

The investigation was conducted in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The operation is part of a global operation codenamed “Killer Bee” involving INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and law enforcement in 11 countries across Southeast Asia.

According to INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime, Craig Jones, the organisation had “to alert Nigeria to a serious security threat where millions could have been lost without swift police action.”

The laptops and mobile phones seized by EFCC during the arrests, were examined by the INTERPOL to help confirm the systematic use of “Agent Tesla” malware to access business computers and divert monetary transactions to their own accounts.


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