Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hajj 2009: NAHCON And Its State Of Preparedness

October 16, 2009
As the countdown to Hajj 2009 begins, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) commenced its last minute preparedness for this year's Hajj exercise. Throughout the calendar, NAHCON set a formidable committee to enlighten the pilgrims as well as the authorities concern and the stakeholders on the need of eradicating the problems faced by Nigerian pilgrims at the Holy land in order to record a successful and hitch-free Hajj (Hajj-al-Mabrur).
An accepted Hajj is a Hajj performed--overall--in a manner pleasing to Allah (SWT), and its signs are that a person returns with resolve and determination to fulfill their duty to Allah in a pleasing manner. If this is the case, then such a person's Du'as are likely to be answered--not just 40 days after their return, but beyond as well.
It is a known phenomenon that over the years, the attitudes of our Nigerian Pilgrim have constituted major menace to Saudi Authorities during each Hajj Operation. The Nigerian Pilgrims are known to embark on demonstrations at Saudi Airport and the places of accommodation both in Makkah and Madinah, out of impatience to come back home after completing their Hajj. Others are in the habit of overstaying after Hajj or Umrah while some falsify their traveling documents.
The general disorderliness of our pilgrim right from the shores of Nigeria and while in Saudi Arabia is nothing to write home about. For instance, the disorderliness in boarding plane, bus, the rowdy nature of our weighing centres, our eating and hygiene habits in our accommodation places, the rampant cases of pilgrim loss, deliveries of babies, in some cases miscarriages, oversize and multiple luggages at boarding points and carrying about luggages at Jamarat are all problems of serious concern noted by Hajj stakeholders and have become the bane of successful and hitch-free Hajj. These anomalies have so long been associated with Nigerian pilgrims to the extend that today any black man who perpetrates them is automatically regarded as a Nigerian.
The Hajj Stakeholders cannot alone surmount these enumerated problems without the support and cooperation of our intending pilgrims, and the cooperation of intending pilgrims can only be obtained if the pilgrims are adequately enlightened on the basic tenets of attaining an acceptable Hajj.
The salient key to attaining an acceptable Hajj is the fear of Allah and imbibing the spirit of patience and tolerance throughout the period of Hajj performance.
Presenting the update of 2009 Hajj arrangements recently at the floor of the National Assembly, the NAHCON boss, Alhaji Musa Bello highlights that the 85,000 pilgrims' slot allocated to Nigeria have been distributed to the 36 states, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Armed forces. He said, the payment of the seats have been commendable with N29,540,054,815.16 received out of N30,638,407,760.29, which was expected. According to him, this represents 96% success of the payment received.
On the E-passport and issuance of the Hajj visas, the commission reaffirmed the circular received earlier this year (January 2009) by the Saudi authorities asserting that from the 2009 Hajj season, pilgrims' passport will no longer be accepted from anyone globally, only international passports will be used. Following that, the commission made adequate arrangements with the Nigerian Immigration Service and the state pilgrims' welfare boards and agencies across the nation to take care of this development. "Consequently, by now, every intending pilgrim for this year has already obtained his e-passport. We have even held meeting with the concerned Saudi Authorities on how the e-passport should be handled to avoid damage," said NAHCON boss.
The issuance of visa for 2009 Hajj, according to the commission, commenced on 7th September, 2009 at the Saudi consulate in Kano where 60,000 pilgrims from the states of the North-West, North-East and parts of North-Central geo-political zones are being processed. The balance of 25,000 pilgrims are being handled by the Saudi embassy in Abuja. The statement further said visa issuance in Abuja commenced a week after Ramadan where approximately, 50,000 visas have so far been processed.
On pilgrims' accommodation, NAHCON is optimistic that Nigerian pilgrims' accommodation has been secured by the states in Mecca, while the commission has secured accommodation in Madina. Alhaji Bello said, "The cost of accommodation in Makkah this year has been benchmarked at SR2,500 per pilgrim, while that of Madina has been benchmarked at SR350 per pilgrim for the eiath days pilgrims generally desire to saty in Madina."
Notably, Hajj is one of the fundamental Jihads (cause of Allah), therefore, when we prepare for hajj we should also prepare for death. No one is guaranteed return from Hajj. We are supposed to put our affairs in order, make our wills, say our goodbyes. We try to mend fences with those estranged from us-relatives, friends, enemies. Understandably, we often put these uncomfortable conversations off until the last possible minute.
Ramadan is a good time to begin the process of forgiving, asking forgiveness and reconciling with others just as we fast and pray and hope for forgiveness from Allah and reconciliation in our relationship to Allah, while Hajj is another window to exercise Allah's piety. May Allah Ta'ala grant us Hajj-al-Mabrur.

Al-Khul’: The Woman’s Choice

Published on Friday, October 09, 2009)

The situation in which the wife initiates divorce proceedings is known as Khul’a or Khul’i. It is a compensation given to a husband by his wife who desires divorce. Once the husband agrees to divorce her in exchange for some money or the remission of her dower, the divorce is known as Talaq. It is valid as the Talaq given by the man of his own initiative. Khul’i depends upon the agreement reached between the two parties. If the husband agrees to give Talaq provided that his wife either abandon her right to the dower (if the dower has not yet been paid) or return back the amount of the dower to the husband (if the dower had been paid). In the time of the Prophet (SAW), the wife of one of his Sahaba (companions), Thabit bin Qais, asked for Talaq from her husband because she did not like him. The Prophet (SAW) asked her to return back to him the garden he gave to her at the time of marriage as dower. She accepted this demand and got the Talaq.
In the holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) said, “If you fear that they (the spouses) may not uphold the boundaries of Allah, then there is no harm upon the two of them (spouses) in the ransom offered by her (wife).” (Q1:229)
However, why should a woman seek divorce? A thorough research conducted recently by Women’s Right Advancement And Protection Alternative (WRAPA) under the auspices of the Islamic Family Law (IFL) project in seven north-western states in Nigeria revealed that women are undergoing a lot of torments in the society, thus, If a woman is unable to endure with her husband and is unable to fulfill her rights as a wife, who will be answerable? Will her parents or the society intercede for her on the Day of Judgment?
Though, Islam condemns male chauvinism, we see chauvinism obvious among many Muslim societies. Even in the case of divorce, a male easily gives Talaq to his wife if he is unable to endure with her. But it isn’t the same with the wife. In fact, she is asked to be patient all the time, instead of using her own right to end a relationship, without having a look to understand how they can neglect the rights given to them by Allah (SWT).
Therefore, at a validation meeting attended by 62 Islamic scholars, jurists and academicians at Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, WRAPA, under its IFL projects, in its contributions towards creating awareness and empowering women, resolved in a communique that the Khul’i be limited to the only Sadaq (dowry) paid by the husband. Where a husband has paid the Sadaq far above the normal, the Qadi (judge) should use his discreation to decided on what is reasonabe and affordable for the wife to pay.
Although, before reaching this conclusion, a lot of things were put into consideration. First, some observers view that by resolving to a low scale of the Khul’i, payment, it gives women an easy way to ask for divorce and probably, it may become detriment to the society once women were at liberty to seek divorce without austere measures, but the scholars argued that no woman wants her marriage crashed, but there are some instances whereby women are being denied certain marital rights and because of the culture of the husbands cajole then into being patients, they remain in their houses without given due consideration. “If you agree with me, a lot of women are silently dying due to one problems or the other. They are being denied their certain rights, for example, conjugal rights, some husbands fervidly deny their wives their matrimonial rights simply because they have alternatives, they keep mistresses outside. Therefore, what will be the faith of their innocent wives, who have no any alternative?” One of the WRAPA officials sighted.
Unfortunately, in some societies it is culturally unacceptable that a woman should be aware of her rights, and that she might actually wish to exercise those rights! Many brand the woman with ugly names, such as adulteress, psychic, possessed by Jinn, masculine, arrogant, etc., just for intending to seek her conjugal rights ordained by Allah (SWT) if she noticed the husband is not forthcoming.
When a Muslim woman seeks a Khul’i, she often must endure constant mental and physical torment from her neighbors, friends, even family who do not understand that this is her God’s given right, and no shame should follow upon it.
These are some of the reasons why most women chose to remain silent, enduring painful and lifeless marital situations. First and formost, the cultural bindings. In our northern societies, the culture of Alkunya affects the marital institution, so much so that certain issues are ignored or abolished due to this fact. Eventually, they later turn out to be detrimental to our family affairs.
I have been wanting to come up with issues relating to family affairs in our modern societies because I have come to undertand that a lot of marriages crashes not because the couples subscribed for the hurtle, but because of some impediments.
In our subsequent discussions, I will share with you instances where women call to seek advice or counselling for their marimonial wahala. Meanwhile, is Khul’i a recipe or techniques for eradicating women snags in their matrimonial lives?

From My In-Box

Readers' Reactions and Comments on Zee-Zee

(published October 11)

Re: Ummi Zee-Zee: My Secret Affair With Timaya
I really find it difficult to describe how senile this young upcoming artress in Hausa film has gone by her recent interview in your column of Leadership Weekend of October 3, 2009.
I was one of her admirers in the Kannywood world before the Maryam Hiyana debacle, which threw the industry into disarray and made it possible for Zee Zee to now go into music.
Reading her interview made me ponder on a lot of things, especially given the fact that she comes from a Muslim family. What aroused my curiosity to even waste my precious time to write this piece is the way she proudly announced to the world that Timaya and Mighty Duncan are her boyfriends–Waiyazubillah. How could a Muslim girl take pride in saying that her boyfriends are people who are not of the same religion like her? How sure is she that any one of them would become a Muslim to marry her?
What Zee Zee wanted to tell the people is that her parents if they are alive have no control over her. This is because if her parents have control over her, she wouldn’t dare say it out that Timaya and Mighty Duncan were her boyfriends. She needs to be reminded that whatever she gets in this world, she must surely leave behind.
She also needs to be reminded that as a Muslim, it is not even proper for her to become a Musician. Not to mention her utterances that she bought ten expensive cars with her money which I believe is a lie. If indeed she’s a Musician, where is the album she released that fetched her that staggering amount?

Usman Santuraki,
No. 74, Tafida Street, Jimeta - Yola, Adamawa State

Who hired you to blackmail Timaya?
Please tell us how much Zee-Zee gave you to blackmail Timaya? If it is true, why is she involving the two other aritstes? Anyway, tell her that this is not something to be proud of as a good Muslim.

Maryam Sanusi,
48, Maiduguri Road, Sokoto,

I am disappointed
Al-Amin, you have disappointed me by featuring this rif-raf called Zee-Zee. She is a disgrace to the Muslim faithful. She should go back and seek her parent's forgiveness.

Asabe Gamawa, Kano, 08037037782

Zee-Zee, I Am Disppointed
I am one of those who admire certain folks in the industry and Zee-Zee happened to be one of them, but with the current situation, I can say that I am really dispointed in her. How dare she be proud of telling the entire world that she is in love with Timaya? I think Ummi does not have respect for her parents. Timaya is just using her as a rhesus monkey.

Malam Haruna, 8/10 Sokot State
0802 360 7222

What Is Wrong In Being Friends With Timaya?
Why are our Muslim brothers so hypocritical? Whatever is wrong with a Muslim making friends with people that are non-Muslims, is what I still find amazing. Most of us Muslims have satellite dishes and do tune to musicals and many are fans of Akon, the american pop star. What Zee-Zee is doing is in many folds, better than being a Nigerian politician for instance.

Ibrahim Maiduguri
0802 691 1397

Re: Asabe Gamawa’s Comment
Asabe, you have spoken my mind in your comment about Zee-Zee in LEADERSHIP Newspaper. I think we should engage her in our prayers. She definitely needs deliverance.
Hamza Jos

Zee-Zee? Who Cares!
I don’t know why people pay attention to this Ummi Zee-Zee and Timaya saga. Ummi should be allowed to date any man of her choice. The world is wide enough for everyone, but Ummi needs to know that she is a woman and the life span of a woman is not long enough for her to roam about.

Umar Faruk,
0803 072 7081

Zee-Zee Is A Disgrace To Us
I want to commend your efforts, please permit me to tell Zee-Zee that she is nothing but a disgrace to the entire good Muslim women. So what if Timaya is your boyfriend? You should know better that there are certain games that one does not play because they are expensive and risky.
May God guide people like you.
Anisa, Kano
0803 788 2127

Please you guys should forget about this brat called Zee-Zee, who cares if she dates the whole artistes in the industry?
Lawal Mai-Anguwa, Mando, Kaduna
0803 694 6230

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zee-Zee Vs Timaya: Matters Arising

•How Timaya Dumped Me For Njamah, After Giving Him A Honda Jeep Worth N4m

(Published in LEADERSHIP - October 11, 2009)

“So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong. And you'll finally see the truth – that a hero lies in you...” (Mariah Carey - Hero)

Can anyone tell Ummi Zee-zee that she may attain whatever position she may aspire to be in as much as she believes in herself and what she positively does?” This is just one of the numerous responses I received last week about the Ummi Ibrahim (Zee-Zee) article published in this column.
The 'Jinsee' star actress, exposure of her love life with Bayelsa State- born militant singer, Inetimi Odon, popularly known as Timaya, did not go down well with her teeming readers and fans. Although the beautiful and gorgeously looking former Kannywood actress boasted that she has won the heart of the contemporary artiste of the moment, I am pretty sure that by the time my readers get to know that the Kannywood star who fled the industry has been jilted again by her lovebird, Timaya, they may conclude that they are probably watching a TV-Soap love series. However, the issue of the moment is that the slim, pretty, tall star could not hide her dismay over how she allegedly allowed a man who would have been her husband to slip away from her warm arms into that of another woman.
Sources available to Inside Kannywood reveals that the relationship, according to her, suddenly broke up when Timaya decided to go back to the popular Nollywood star, Empress Njamah. How did it happen? First, Zee-Zee alleged that she bought her Bayelsa State-born star a customised Honda Pilot Jeep worth N4 million as a love gift.
"I bought him Honda Jeep Pilot for N4 million, but he dumped me for Empress Njamah. I asked him to return the car, but he has been running away from me," said Zee-Zee.
She is said to have opened a fresh love chapter with Jonah D’Monarch, whom she described as her new love bird.
Scandals in the entertainment industry is not a new thing – ranging from boyfriend-girlfriend saga to matrimonial infidelity, to the illicit pornographic video racks and so on. As for Timaya, whenever one asks him about his life and the scandals, he simply smiles and says, "I think I am paramount; that is why they talk about me. I never actually wanted it this way, but then, I never liked a situation where people just kept saying good things about me, it makes me scared. So, writing or saying wrong things about me once in a while is in order."
A public commentator, who spoke on anonymity on this matter said, “How could Ummi Zee-Zee be blinded by the so-called promises from a man she does not know in the first place? According to him, Zee-Zee should revisit the love affair between Timaya and Empress. The story is not hidden. Doesn’t she know that Empress was in a love affair with Timaya before her?
Of course, archives don't tell lies, Timaya and Njamah have come a long way. Imagine that he could hold his “hard-earned Hip–Hop award plaque in front of the general public and fans and announce that he is dedicating it to his queen, Empress Njamah. Zee-Zee should have at least realised that Njamah had been enjoying the sweetest taboo from Timaya long before her.
Apart from that, there has been allegations that Timaya's queen is also pregnant for him, an allegation Timaya denied, saying, "Imagine that in January, they wrote that I had done a secret marriage introduction with Empress Njamah and that she was four months pregnant. That is a big lie, a mega lie. I'm serious. If she was four months pregnant, then she should be giving birth by now, but she has not."
But then, on many occasions, Timaya affirmed his relationship with Njamah: "I am in a relationship with Empress like I am in a relationship with any other person. We are not enemies; we have dates and go out for drinks. People just say what they want to say because they see both of us at places together – shows, clubs etc."'
Not only that, the Don Kpolongo singer lately had a rough taste of love turned sour when he was arrested by the police recently. The episode happened at a Church premises in Lagos. Sources say Timaya with his friends arrived the Church premises where a wedding event was going on. He was allegedly given a seat by one of the church Ushers, but he insisted he wanted a high table position, and when the usher stood his ground, he calmly sat without betraying any emotion of what he planned to do.
Present at the event was Empress Njamah who became alarmed and quickly stood up from her position and made her way to the front row area where some elders of the Church sat, expressing her fear that Timaya's presence may bring some trouble. And of course, that was what really happened. Thereafter, Timaya got up from his seat and tried to make his way to the high table, shouting and making trouble that he had come to retrieve the key to his car which his girlfriend, Njamah, took from his house. The tension was doused by the involvement of a Naval officer who was present at the event. He did that by inviting his men who rushed to the venue handcuffed Timaya and took him away.
One may ask: What really went wrong with Timaya to engage in such a show of shame? The answer is simple. He thought his girl was getting married to another man, so he decided to storm the Church to disrupt the wedding. But the much talked about wedding was between one of Empress' best friends and her long-standing boyfriend.
By this, one may quickly conclude that no Jupiter will put the Timaya/Njamah relationship asunder. Has it also occurred to Zee-Zee that she was just dancing to the tune of others? She should know by now that even if she buys him an Air Force One, one of the world's most luxurious air craft, she won't buy his heart? Certainly, that’s how others learn from their mistakes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Secret Affair With Timaya – Zee-Zee

(Published in my INSIDE KANNYWOOD column in LEADERSHIP today)

Ummi Ibrahim Usman, a.k.a Zee-Zee, has been enmeshed in much controversy recently. As much as she had tried to exonerate herself of blame in her previous relationship, she is still receiving knocks for quickly getting involved in another with star artiste Timaya. In this interview, she lay bare her mind on the scandal that led her to police detention, among other issues.

For a while now, you have been silent on issues, why?
The reason I decided to back out from issues of discourse is due to the unfortunate incident that came upon Maryam Hiyana. When the sex video clip was exposed, I vowed not to feature in any movie again.

But some music video posters of you and Timaya showed that you are working on your new album. How about that?
The reason I opted for musicals was because I stopped featuring in Hausa films; that is why I decided to work on my musical album, but not the Adamu Nagudus contemporaries. I am doing English musicals alongside stars like Timaya, Jonah the Monarch, Duncan Mighty, among others.

Why this sudden migration?
I have told you, I am no more interested in any Hausa movie or show again. The Hiyana scandal really put me off. It was a bad experience.

Most of these artistes you mentioned are more ‘expensive’ then those of Hausa extraction, how did you manage your budget?
(Laughter) The issue of budget is secondary because they are my business associates. We are into the same business, so we know our ways.

Could you tell us how you met Timaya?
(Laughter) The point is that we are destined to be. We are in the same profession. One thing led to another and that's how it all started.

Is it true that one of your boyfriends introduced you to Timaya?
I don't understand. You mean my boyfriend introduced me to him?

Yes, that your boyfriend hooked you up with him?
How could my boyfriend have introduced me to another man? It’s not true.

But is it true that Timaya is also your boyfriend?
Yes, Timaya is my boyfriend. In fact, I am also going out with two other artistes in the music industry– Jonah The Monarch and Duncan Mighty– but I am more recognised with Timaya.

How are you able to do this?
I want you to understand that I am single and searching. I can date 100 men, but Islam allows me to marry only one. Therefore, I am taking my time to search for Mr. Right.

You just mentioned Islam, how is it going to be?
Whoever wants to seek my hand should convert to Islam.
Do you think your boyfriends might convert to your faith in order to win your heart?
Of course! They could.

Has Timaya come to terms with your faith?
Yes! Not just him, all of them are ready to become Muslims.
Among the artistes you mentioned, who is going to be the hero - the one expected to become a Muslim and marry Zee-Zee.

Out of the three? (long silence)
I am not sure yet, but whoever is destined to be my husband will surely become a Muslim.

There are allegations that you were recently apprehended by the police. What really happened?
I have a boyfriend in Jos, Abdullahi Adamu Usman, who proposed to me, but unfortunately, my parents felt he was not the right man for me. You know the religion permits one to know the background of whoever comes to seek your daughter's hand in marriage. If he is good, then so be it. But for Usman, my dad said no. But I dated him for about a year, or there about. I used to visit him in Jos.

But is it true that you betrayed him? After buying you expensive cars, you jilted him for your new found love?
You mean people think I am a dupe, isn't it? The allegations are false. Abdullahi could be the one who is insinuating these against me. The guy is frustrated and is going about telling people that he gave me money, cars, etc. Since the day he felt that my dad wouldn’t bless our relationship, he started talking, even to the police. First, he said we were business partners and that I betrayed him of his 20 houses and 20 cars, as well as some undisclosed amount of money. He even said, I was planning to flee from the country.

The truth is, we are not partners in business, but the poor guy became furious when he realised that my father refused him; that is why he took that step. He would have asked that I redeem what he offered me in the cause of our relationship, and I would have paid him whatever I knew was between us, rather than tarnish my image. And don't forget, he offered me some gifts unconditionally because of our love, but all of a sudden, they turned the table against me.

But to some extent, what he did is wrong. He labelled criminal charges against me, which he knows I am innocent of. As a public figure, he succeeded in tarnishing my image. He ordered that my passport be confiscated. He said I was a '419er'. What I could recall is that he gave me five cars and I bought another five from him. I have 10 cars. That is the transaction that transpired between us. How could I have duped him? If not for anything, I am a Muslim, I can’t do that, but I leave everything in God's hands.

Did he retrieve the cars he gave to you?
My cars have special plate numbers like 'Zee-Zee 1,' 'Zee-Zee 2,' 'Zee-Zee 3,' 'Zee-Zee 4' and 'Zee-Zee 5'. I bought them with my money. What he should understand is that even before I met him, I have been riding in flashy and expensive cars, courtesy of my parents. Though he came back begging me for forgiveness, he equally brought back the cars to me.

How about the case at the police station?
Since he wants reconciliation, he, send his people from Jos to come and withdraw the case.

Is it true that you were detained for two days?
I was detained for three days.

Since he withdrew the case, are you still going to press charges for character assassination and libel?
The guy did some damages to my person but as I said, I leave everything in God's hands. I won't go to court. Let Allah be the judge.

Even if he returns the five cars?
Even if he buys me a private jet, he has already destroyed my hard-earned reputation. Before I met him, I was lavishing in expensive cars, but then he succeeded in tarnishing my image in the eyes of my fans, friends and well-wishers.
At the police station, some people said Timaya gave you money to buy cars?
Yes, Timaya gives me money because he is my boyfriend, and I don't think it is wrong to give money to your woman.

Could you now say quitting the Kannywood industry has brought more blessings to you
I am a product of the Hausa film industry. The industry took me to where I am today. They are two different things. For the fact I denounced featuring in the movies does not mean I look down on Hausa films, but my business matters more to me now. There is more money in the music industry than in the movies. That's all I said.
People are yet to see your album.

When are you launching it?
My songs are being aired on most satellite channels like MTV, Channel O, etc. But very soon, they will storm the market.

But don't you think you are the architect of all that is happening to you?
I don't understand.

The way you cruise around in those expensive cars and do odd things...
It's about policy. That is how I want to live my life. You also have your policy and ideology in life. These cars are not that expensive, with little savings you could also buy one or two, or even 20. I don't think there is any cause for alarm. Allah is the provider, once you can pray, He can grant your wishes (laughter).

All your men are rich. Is it that Zee-Zee doesn't mingle with the lower class?
(Laughter) It is in my blood, everything I touch turns gold... (laughter again). It’s nature's gift to me. Everything I touch turns to gold. If an ordinary man on the street approaches me today, you will be surprised at what he would become tomorrow. All I can say is that money is not love, but love is divine. If you are with me, you will surely be among. (Laughter).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Censors Board Increases Fees


By Al-Amin Ciroma

In its desire to enhance and facilitate service delivery to its stakeholders, the National Film and Video Censors Board will today, review upwards by 30 per cent the fees charged for the preview of films.
The review, the board said in a release signed by the corporations Assistant Director, Corporate Affairs, Yunusa Mohammed Tanko, is in line with its efforts to offer premium service to its stakeholders.
With the acquisition and installation of modern cinema style preview theatres at our Lagos office, which is capable of handling 35mm celluloid video, as well as a digital lounge for clients, the present fees charged for preview of films and movies, musical videos and others are no more realistic. The sustainability of this heavy resource base is a prerequisite in the effort to offer global best practices in the Nigerian movie industry.
He said the new equipment would enhance and facilitate online preview of films and movies within the minimum time possible. It will also afford owners of the movies the opportunity to follow and track the progress of the preview in a seamless manner without being present physically.
The board reterated its committed to the upliftment of the movie industry and therefore appeals to all concerned for co-operation and understanding.
The review, The corporation's Assistant Director, Corporate Affairs, Yunusa Mohammed Tanko, said for local films made in Nigerian languages (of 0-15 minutes) will be N10,000, while a Nigerian film in foreign language such as English language will be charged N20,00, while a film meant for exhibition will be charged N25,000.00. In a general perspective, NFVCB has made 30% increment of the applicable fees.
The board increased review fees was in 2002.

Bold Steps Taken By NAHCON For Sustainble Hajj

(Published in my ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE COlumn today in LEADERSHIP)

By Abubakar Bello Kaoje

As we are aware, Hajj operation is time-bound and this requires a carefully-planned sequence of events for implementation. If for whatever reason, the time of a particular event is skipped, it would also eventually affect the other plans. For instance, the Nigerian Pilgrims are not the only pilgrims performing Hajj, it is a world wide affair, and the Hajj authorities in Nigeria have to therefore wait for Saudi Government to invite them for a meeting which would culminate into signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the admittance of the number of pilgrims to perform Hajj every year.
Based on the number of pilgrims admitted, the central body would coordinate and organize meetings with the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Armed Forces on how best to distribute and allocate the Hajj seats to these 38 organizational units.
Another difficult area in the administration of Hajj affairs is the decision of Hajj fares. Because of the different components in the Hajj fare, it takes time before the Hajj package decision is finalised. Decisions on the airfare, accommodation in Makkah and Madina, the ever fluctuating exchange rate of the US dollar in relation to the Naira, etc, all are decisions which must be reached before the Hajj package is determined. To decide on the airfare is the most cumbersome of all Hajj decisions. Being a purely technical area, the central body and the State Pilgrims' Welfare Boards across the country cannot alone decide the airfare. The government agencies like the Ministry of Aviation, the National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), National Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) and the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), these aviation experts would sit down to closely scrutinize the documents of the prospective Carriers with a laid-down procedure, sometimes it would take them two to three weeks to enable the pre-qualification of the Airlines for the airlift exercise.
Often times, the Hajj authorities are left with dilemma of selecting the Air carriers as most of the bidders for the job of airlifting the pilgrims are not owners of the Aircrafts. To employ the services of foreign Airlines will be difficult as the fare offered by Nigeria is not of international standards and therefore not attractive enough for foreign Airlines. Another reason is the attitudes of our pilgrims of carrying over size and multiple luggage and the delays or failure of the pilgrims to turn out on a scheduled flight. Also some of the Airports used for Hajj lack facilities required by Foreign airlines.
Thus, the Nigerian Hajj authorities have no alternative but to carry on and manage with such indigenous Airlines. This requires close monitoring of the agreement documents entered with their business partners. Sometimes, some of the Airlines assure the screening Committee of bringing the required capacity of Aircrafts and positioning the Aircraft on the agreed date and if you ask them any documents as regards to their assurances they would produce them, but on the day of positioning the Aircrafts the story would be different. They fail to fulfil their promises not because they want to disappoint, but that the success for scouting their Aircrafts depends largely on the vagaries of market forces.

Re: Ijbar –Marital Consent: The WRAPA Approach

(Published today in my ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE column in LEADERSHIP)

By Mohammed A. Salisu

After carefully studied your piece on the above topic, I realised how versatile knowledge is in Islam. But then I believe the case studied organisation, the Women's Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), which is an avenue for rendering guidance as well mobilising women, but I am opined to think that WRAPA, though has good objectivity in its mandate, but don’t you think may run contrary to Islamic laws concerning certain issues? Before we digest this important question, let’s look at the marriage instituion in the islamic spectrum.
Allah (SWT) has created men and women as company for one another, and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquillity according to the commandments of Allah Ta’ala and the directions of His Messenger (SAW). In the holy Qur'an, Allah says: “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect.” (30:21).
These verses of the Noble Qur'an clearly show that in contrast to other religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism etc. which consider celibacy or monasticism as a great virtue and a means of salvation, Islam considers marriage as one of the most virtuous and approved institutions. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) declared, “O you young men! Whoever is able to marry should marry, for that will help him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty.” (Al-Bukhari)
Modesty was regarded as a great virtue by the Prophet. He said, "Modesty is part of faith." (Al-Bukhari)
The importance of the institution or marriage receives its greatest emphasis from the following hadith of the Prophet (SAW), “Marriage is my sunna. Whosoever keeps away from it is not from me.”
With these Qur'anic injunctions and the guidance from the Prophet (SAW) in mind, we shall examine the institution of marriage in the Shari'ah.
The word Zawaj is used in the Qur'an to signify a pair or a mate. But in common parlance it stands for marriage. Since the family is the nucleus of Islamic society, and marriage is the only way to bring families into existence, the Prophet (SAW) insisted upon his followers entering into marriage. The Shari’ah prescribes rules to regulate the functioning of the family so that both spouses can live together in love, security, and tranquillity. Marriage in Islam has aspects of both 'ibadah (worship) of Allah and Mu'amalah (transactions between human beings).
Now, let’s explore some of its conditions. After careful consideration of the Qur’anic injunctions and the traditions of the Prophet (SAW), it clearly show that marriage is compulsory (Wajib) for a man who has the means to easily pay the Mahr (dowry) and to support a wife and children, and is healthy, and fears that if does not marry, he may be tempted to commit fornication (Zina). It is also compulsory for a woman who has no other means of maintaining herself and who fears that her sexual urge may push her into fornication. But even for a person who has a strong will to control his sexual desire, who has no wish to have children, and who feels that marriage will keep him away from his devotion to Allah, it is commendable (Mandub).
However, according to the Maliki school, under certain conditions it is obligatory (Fard) for a Muslim to marry even if he is not in a position to earn his living:
•If he fears that by not marrying he will commit Zina.
•If he is unable to fast to control his passions or his fasting does not help him to refrain from zina.
•Even if he is unable to find a slave girl or a destitute girl to marry.
However some jurists suggest that if a man cannot procure a lawful livelihood, he must not marry because if he marries without any hope of getting lawful bread, he may commit theft, and in order to avoid one evil (his passions) he may become the victim of another (theft).
The Hanafi school considers marriage as Fard for a man:
•If he is sure that he will commit Zina if he does not marry.
•If he cannot fast to control his passions or even if he can fast, his fast does not help him to control his passion.
•If he cannot get a slave-girl to marry.
•If he is able to pay the dowry (Mahr) and to earn a lawful livelihood.
Marriage is Haram to a man, according to the Hanafi school, if he does not possess the means to maintain his wife and children or if he suffers from an illness, serious enough to affect his wife and progeny.
It is not desirable (Makruh) for a man who possesses no sexual desire at all or who has no love for children or who is sure to be slackened in his religious obligations as a result of marriage.
In a beautiful tradition the Prophet (SAW) has given the most important point that should weigh with every Muslim in selecting his bride:
“Whoever marries a woman solely for her power and position, Allah will only increase him in humiliation. Whoever marries a woman solely for her wealth, Allah will only increase him in poverty. Whoever marries a woman because of her beauty, Allah will only increase him in ugliness. But whoever marries a woman in order that he may restrain his eyes, observe cautiousness, and treat his relations kindly, Allah puts a blessing in her for him and in him for her.”
In order that problems should not arise after marriage the Prophet (peace be upon him) recommended that, in the selection of his bride, a man should see her before betrothal lest blindness of choice or an error of judgment should defeat the very purpose of marriage.

Ijbar, A Safety Valve?
The consent of both the man and the women is an essential element of marriage, and the Qur'an gives women a substantial role in choosing their own life partners. It lays down:
“Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner.” (2: 232)
However, Imam Malik, gives a slightly restrictive interpretation to this verse and makes the choice of partner by a Muslim girl subject to the over-ruling power or Ijbar of her father or guardian in the interests of the girl herself.
It may sometimes happen that in her immaturity or over-zealousness, a girl may want to marry a man about whom she has distorted information or who does not possess good character or who lacks proper means of livelihood. In such a case, it is better, or rather incumbent upon the girl's father or guardian, that, in the wider interests of the girl, he restrains her from marrying such a worthless man and finds a suitable person to be her husband. Generally speaking, such marriages arranged by fathers and guardians work better than a marriage brought about through western courtship.
Now, the WRAPA way, do you think in this modern world, where our children are not well thought amidst societal influence with alien cultures and norms, if we disregard Ijbar, will it favour marital life in the Ummah? I quite agree that a girl’s consent is important, but I still hold it to my heart that parents’ interest to be supreme in contracting marriage. Therefore, the answer to my earlier question about the WRAPA approach is that if care is not taken, in the course of its objective criticisms, they may go contrary to the norms of the Islamic cultures. I recommended a thorough research be made before making publicity, although, the research work revealed that some Islamic scholars are involved, but still is not enough, they should widen the scope.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gallery of Nigerian Movie Icons

"A Film Has No Language"

By Al-Amin Ciroma
(published in my INSIDE KANNYWOOD column in LEADERSHIP, September 26, 2009)

Professionally, film is said to have no language. In Nigeria today, making a film constitutes one of the major projectors and image re-branding tool of the country. In the international market, Nigeria's motion picture stakeholders have succeeded in creating a niche for themselves and have succesfully written the country's name in gold as the second largest movie, producer. This has, indeed, boosted the image of Nigeria; hardly can any Nigerian scroll through cable satellite channels without seeing the works of Nigerian artistes. Film are also one of the very few ways of information dissemination. In Nigeria, a lot of talent put together to propel motion picture to the next height. Spread across the geopolitical zones of the country, movies are produced in the major indigenous languages- that is, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo and above all with the official Nigerian language, English. Before now, film making was considered a business for dropouts and the destitute in the society, but today, the industry players are celebrated icons. So many practitioners put together their God– given talents to take Nigeria to the international scene. This article outlines citations of some of the outstanding personalities in Nigeria's giant motion picture industry.

•Nkem Owoh – You don't make a list of Nollywood’s outstanding personalities without a mention of Nkem Owoh. A lot who scream the name ‘Osuofia’ do not even know that this artisitc name predates Nollywood. And that is why he is a pioneer to what we know as Nollywood today.
Owoh was part of one of the first successful Nollywood films. Apart from writing the script, he also featured in the same film as ‘Marcus Ezeigwe.’ He didn’t seem to have arrived until the release of numerous other best sellers like Ukwa, Osuofia in London, etc. He instantly became a household name with his fame breaking down barriers. There is no doubt that Nkem has helped in re-shaping Nollywood as far as comedy and humour merchandising is concerned. For stamping his authority on the comedy and humour scene of Nollywood, for helping the world cure their hypertension, for several persons, both upcoming artistes and viewers alike, Nkem drives fast his vehicle to re-branding Nigeria.

•Ali Nuhu –At the formative stage of film-making in the northern part of the country, Ali Nuhu became one of the greatest icons behind it. Although, he started off and foremost with the English drama and TV soaps, Nuhu was later to become 'sarki' (king) of the Hausa film industry, popularly known as Kannywood. A versatile and multi-talent actor, the name Ali Nuhu is a household name, not only in the northern part of the country but also to neighbouring countries and Hausa speaking communities in the world. His role in Sangaya, Wasila, to Sitanda, eventually made him a star to watch. The panache and skilfulness of Nuhu gained him double role in the motion picture industry in Nigeria, being the master of the game of the Hausa film industry He has also succeeded in writing his name among the who's who in industry.
•Sam Loco – If there is anyone who has touched several souls through the profession he chose for himself, then that personality is Samuel ‘Locomotion’ Efenwokieke, ‘Sam Loco’ for the short. From Eredo, Edo State, Loco is gifted with the ease of speaking several Nigerian languages, which has made to cut across the boarders.
The son of a prison official who played soccer during his growing up days got a nickname- 'Locomotion'- from the field of play, which is today shortened to ‘Loco’. He was also a travelling salesman for a tyre manufacturing company before deciding to go and study Acting and Dramatics at the University of Ibadan. Apart from featuring in popular telelvision dramas like Hotel De Jordan, working with the University Ibadan Theatre Troupe, Sam Loco made national limelight when he starred in Langbodo, at the prestigious FESTAC ‘77. From then till date, while his contemporaries are living in retirement due to age, Daddy Sam Loco Efe is still waxing strong featuring in soaps, comedies, movies and other works of art. History will not forget his A+ performance in Piccadily.

•Clarion Chukwura – If you wish to talk about consistency, one of the stars you must not fail to talk about is Lady Clarion Chukwura. An amazon of the thespian world as well as groomed in the classrooms and stage of the University of Ife (now ObafemiAwolowo University)
She is called 'Madam Consistency' due to the manner in pwhich she delivers her lines on set. She makes it seem very easy. Have you ever seen Clarion make moves with her body while on set? She is fluid. No doubt a host of people like Chukwura deserve national honours for propelling Nigeria's image at the international arena.

•Sani Mu'azu – In those good old days when people were agitating for a way forward for Nollywood, there was a man who kept the flag aloft in the Northern part of Nigeria. That man is Sani Mu'azu.
People who are marvelled at his achievements, exposure and experience when they realise that he has come a long way featuring in the crew of Mr. Johnson and Soweto in the 80s.
•Okey Ogunjiofor – If you asked Oke Ogunjiofor what he thought he was doing when he gathered some desperate drama hungry young men and women to do Living In Bondage, the movie credited to have started Nollywood, he would readily tell you that he was driven by sheer deep passion for what he knew how to do.
Whether you are one of those who argue that there were other drama sketches put out on video before Living In Bondage, it has never been in doubt that the movie was all Nollywood needed to erupt like a volcano. Now you could count the number of off-shoots of that similar move-BOBTV, AMAA, Lagos International Film Festival, Abuja International Film Festival, several reality shows on television among others.
Ogunjiofor is just another Bollywood's Karan Johar first, for spearheading a revolution, which has overtaken him; for venturing into an area that has provided employment for several hundreds of thousands people, including the educated and the talented for engaging Nigerians with an unforgetable film story which has continued to be felt in their sub-conscious many years after its production.
•Joke Jacobs – It could be a very big task to be saddled with the responsibility of describing the personality of Nigeria's top actress and Joke Jacobs. Due to lack of words, one is tempted to use words like ‘quintessential’ or to better still a role model.
However you may want to look at it, Nollywood will never be complete if there is no mention of Joke Jacobs, wife of another internationally renowned thespian Olu Jacobs (who knows what their children would turn to later). Just one scene of any of her films will prove to you that she went into acting with her eyes wide open and has continue to influence younger artistes both on stage and on screen. Her strong points include her vocal delivery, her stage presence, her diction and her entire performance. With Joke, the microphone, the cameras glow, your screen lights up. She help the motion picture industry in Nigeria to grow stronger by the day.
•Chucks Mordi – There are people who do what you see and get recognition and there are several others whom you don't see, but have their fingers in everything. Chucks Mordi is one of them. Mordi was part of the beginnings of Nollywood and his passion took him to the United Kingdom, where he set up the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), UK Chapter. You can imagine how hard it would have been for him to do that. AMP in UK is an army with membership spanning Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Thumbs up to a son of the soil who has kept Nigeria’s flag flying across the border.

Ijbar –Marital Consent: The WRAPA Approach

By Al-Amin Ciroma
(Pubished in my Islamic Perspective column in LEADERSHIP, Sept. 25, 2009)

The holy Qur’an (4:21) refers to marriage as a Mithaq (i.e. a solemn covenant or agreement between husband and wife), and enjoins that it be put down in writing. Since no agreement can be reached between the parties unless they give their consent to it, marriage can be contracted only with the free consent of the two parties. The Prophet of Islam (SAW) also said, “The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until their order is obtained, and the virgin shall not be married until her consent is obtained.” (Al-Bukhari).
Being one of the sacred institutes in Islam, the holy Prophet (SAW) encourages his followers to marry and regenerate (good offsprings) so that he will be proud of them in the day of judgement. There are virtually many Ahadiths in support of marriage in Islam. He (SAW) said, "Marriage is my Sunnah (way of life), whoever reject my Sunnah is not of me." However, the format of contracting this sacred tradition varies in our society, while some subscribes to full consent of the spouse before marriage, others reject it and practice Ijbar.
Ijbar as an Arabic word means the act of forceful order (especially in the case of marriage). But in Islam, the consent of both the man and the women is an essential element of marriage, such that the girl's consent is immaterial, while her subsequent complaints are ignored and she is compelled to remain in the marriage. The Qur'an gives women a substantial role in choosing their own life partners. It lays down, “Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner.” (Q:2, V:232).
However, Imam Malik, one of the great leading scholars of the Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence, gives a slightly restrictive interpretation to this verse and makes the choice of partner by a Muslim girl subject to the over-ruling power or 'Ijbar' of her father or guardian in the interests of the girl herself. It may sometimes happen that in her immaturity or over-zealousness, a girl may want to marry a man about whom she has distorted information or who does not possess good character or who lacks proper means of livelihood. In such a case, it is better, or rather incumbent upon the girl's father or guardian, that, in the wider interests of the girl, he restrains her from marrying such a worthless man and finds a suitable person to be her husband. Generally speaking, such marriages arranged by fathers and guardians work better than a marriage brought about through western courtship.
The case of Abu Juham bin Hudhaifah and Mu'awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan is relevant here. They proposed marriage to Fatimah bint Ghaith. The holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) advised Fatimah not to marry either of them on the grounds that Mu'awiyah was then a pauper and Abu Juham was cruel and harsh. So she married Usamah.
In its approach, Women's Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), which is a non governmental organisation, aims at giving legal aid and counselling service for women, mobilisation and sensitisation, skill acquisition and advocacy for legal terms, engaged in actualizing the rights of women under Islamic Law. The Project, which is funded by the MacArthur foundation, covers all the seven north-western States i.e. Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa and Kaduna State and has conducted series of activities to this effect under the Islamic Family Law (IFL) unit. The main objective of the forum was to engage in serious scholarship and research in the area of Islamic family law with a view to using the known rules of interpretation to analyse the law, enhance its application within the background of contemporary needs, excise harmful cultural practices which had over the years become embedded in the law and extend the frontiers of the law by advocating reliance on Fatwas (legal verdict) or the other schools of law where it appears beneficial and proper to do so.
In view of the above objectives, three levels of research were conducted in the project states whereby the researches conducted interviews with the women, Court officials and records of proceedings, eminent Ulama, N.G.O's, leaders of thought, the traditional rulers, the various Project State Government; Executive, Legislative and Judiciary and other stakeholders.
The researches revealed the ever widening gap between the true position of the Law and what is erroneously perceived by the public and often times the Court as to what the Law is. Incidences of shallow knowledge by the public and the Courts, harmful cultural practices, refusal to open wide the legal space, patriarchy were cited as the reasons which account for the hash treatment of women both in and outside the matrimony and the Courts. The findings made it necessary to engage experts in Islamic Law to research and present the true position of Islamic Law. It was anticipated that the experts would critically examine the Law as provided in the classical texts and excise there from all the harmful cultural practices embedded therein; re-examine the classical positions reached by the early Jurists and using the known tools of Jurisprudence, support or otherwise a shift in view of changing cultural moves and times, review the position of Maliki against other juristic positions, and suggest whether there is a need to import other juristic views to guide our Family Law positions and generally to examine the juristic milestones recorded by other Muslim nations in their practice of IFL. This was with a view to achieving a rich result and a hybrid of contemporary and classical positions. Two (2) researchers were commissioned from each of the seven (7) project states - one from the contemporary setting and the other from the orthodox. All research reports have been received but one.
Ijbar in its entirety, according to the research reveals that findings could not lend credence to any authority to show that the Holy Prophet (SAW) gave his blessings to its practice during his lifetime, secondly, its therefore shows that Ijbar as a product of Islamic jurisprudential thought, has no basis either in the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAW). Most importantly, it has revealed that the practice of Ijbar is mainly practiced by the Malikis (followers of the Maliki school of thought), while other schools of thoughts do not apply it as the latter do.
Majority of the Ulama interviewed agreed that the practice of Ijbar has caused a lot of problems for the girl victims and the society. They opined that the practice of Ijbar has been mainly exercised to serve the economic or material interests of the girl's parents and the prevalent alternative to seeking legal redress is the tendency for the girls preferring the option to run away from their husbands and parents' homes to places where they cannot be traced.
The Ulama also agreed that there is evident of a faulty understanding and application of the power of Ijbar even among the judges. According to them, the practice of Ijbar can be curtailed to address its dire consequences especially the high prevalence of drop outs from school, the health hazards it poses and the social and psychological perspectives of the departure of its victims into easy life styles.
At the end of the forum, some recommendations were resolved by the Islamic scholars and jurists present at the Jigawa state research validation meeting, the resolved the case of Ijbar such that marriage should be conducted with the consent of all parties going into it. They pointed out some negative consequences Ijbar bring on parties involved and therefore should be checked.
The aspect of marriage is greatly emphasized by Imam Bukhari. He, in fact, gave one of the chapters in his Sahih the significant title: "When a man gives his daughter in marriage and she dislikes it, the marriage shall be annulled." Once a virgin girl came to the Prophet (SAW) and said that her father had married her to a man against her wishes. The Prophet (SAW) gave her the right to repudiate the marriage. (Abu Dawud).
The problem today lies that many girls are forced to marry men they do not like. Their respect for their parents forces them to engage in wed lock. If it were up to them, then they would not have married that man. We have to care for the right of our daughters before giving their hands out for marriage.

The Craziest Thing I Ever Did –Ishaq Sidi Ishaq

Born in Yakasai, Masallacin-jalli ward in Kano municipality, Ishaq Sidi Ishaq 'Dan Kwalisa’, began his film career during his secondary school days. He started featuring in the TV soap, Echo In The Dark, where he won the hearts of television viewers in the state. Ishaq was one of the pioneers of the Kannywood comic group, Rabiu Musa Ibro's cluster. He worked with the group for a while, after which he ventured into filmmaking in a directorial capacity. The first home video he directed was ‘Kamilu’. Whenever you ask Sidi about his passion for show business, Kannywood's most adorable director would simply smile and say, "I love entertainment." He attended Government College, Wudil, Kano State. 'Dan Kwalisa’ is now a student at the prestigious National Film Institute (NFI), Jos, where he is studying for a degree in Filmmaking. In this interview with INSIDE KANNYWOOD, ISHAQ SIDI ISHAQ lay bare his mind on his sudden disappearance from the industry to where he is now securing for himself an academic foundation of the game. He also revealed the craziest thing he’s ever done in his life and much more. Excerpts:

Published in INSIDE KANNYWOOD Column (Leadership) September 19, 2009

You are a famous movie director in Kannywood for a very long time, you have been silent. What has been happening to your career and what is responsible for all the silence?
I went back to school. I'm now a student of Film at NFI, Jos. It's not that I've been silent or out of business, but since I have always believed in quality, rather than quantity, I chose to suspend all film activities for a particular period of time.

What are you studying and how are you coping with the change of environment?
I am studying filmmaking. The change of enviroment is exciting. It has virtually changed almost everything about me. My life style has changed. Before now, I had been busy scheduling shootings, i.e one film after the other, having at least a month or more between them. But now, from Mondays through Fridays, I am always busy with my lectures. Another exciting thing is that most of the practicals are purely field works. What we normally do on location is that we produce short films as well as explore some trends in the motion picture world. With this contrast, and as a practising filmmaker who has been shooting films in drama format, it is surely a plus for me.
I remember the day, a colleague approached me and said, ‘Ishaq, I'm going to start shooting my project very soon and I'm directing it. Please what role would you like to take in in the crew?’ And I told him that I appreciate his invitation and would be there as an observer to advice adequately. When I went to location, I found myself carrying the extension cables, fixing the lights and other minor things that ordinarily I would have employed my boys (gaffers) to do. But then, I love what I am doing.

What should we expect from you at the end of your course?
Obviously, there would be a great change. I've attended several trainings and workshops, especially intensive filmmaking trainings in various fields. I also attended a training programme, that was organised by the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) where experienced filmmakers trained participants on certain issues concerning filmmaking. I have been a regular student of such workshops. Despite all these, I felt it was not enough. I felt I lacked the academic background, or let me say the indepth theoretical aspect of filmmaking which I'm proudly getting now.

How would you rate the Nigeria motion picture industry, the Hausa genre in particular?
It is progressing with the trainings and re-training session of the practitioners and stakeholders. I believe it will get better by the day. Thanks to the Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), especially the men behind it.
Do you think Kannywood is catching up with trends in the motion picture world?
Every industry has its peculiarities; its culture, morals, economic and social values that go with it. To some extent, yes. But it is not yet uhuru, there are quite a lot of things that need to be done.

How do you joggle between your job as a film- maker and the homefront?
I have not been on set for some time now. Recently, when I concluded El-Mustapha 2, I refused to go on set until I get fully settled with my studies, which I am doing now. Very soon I hope to see what the experience would look like when I go on set.

Would you say there is a difference with what you are doing now as a student and what it was before?
Of course, there is quite a difference, a very big one. In school you maintain the professional ethics and aesthetics of filmmaking. Everything has to be done the way it should be from the idea conception, script to screen.
I guess the audience are the to judge or answer this question. Some say it’s because of my style of directing, while some others attribute it to my experience as one of the pioneers of the Hausa film industry. Everybody has his own opinion about what qualifies Mr. A to be what he should be.

What do you think helped your career blossom as much as it has? Do you think you have a rival?
A couple of reasons: I have never compromised quality no matter what. I also refused to be misused. I see a lot of movies to analyse the styles as well as read books, either on the internet or elsewhere. Secondly, if I had a rival, he would have come to school as well as. Therefore, I don't have any rival.

With your success and highflying career in the industry, how do you intend to consolidate on this for the betterment of your future on the job?
I haven't had enough and that's why I'm back to school.

When you are not on set, what is your day like?
I hang out with friends. Sometimes, visit my relatives whom i may not have seen in a long while, due to the nature or my work.

What is the craziest thing you ever did as a filmmaker?
I did a film and sold it.

From what we are witnessing, a lot of film stars are riding in expensive cars and live in high ranks. It seems the industry is now lucrative.
Having strived so long and made your mark over the years, how wealthy would you say you are?

I am content with what I have, Alhamdulillah.

You have done a thousand and one movies, which one do you think projected you most?
The movie that projected me most and added a feather to my cap is Wasila, I've done quite a number of blockbusters that drew the attention of producers in Kannywood, yet Wasila is my box office.

Artistes pocket so much money now as fees, how much do you charge as a director?
I am just a student now. However, I've been behind the camera for a while, but I don't discuss my allowances in public.

It is generally believed that filmmakers or movie producers flirt with the actresses. Do you do that too?
I do not do that. However, in every profession, you have the good, the bad and the ugly. A professional remains a professional, while quacks remain quacks. The boys are always separate from the men, those who know what they are doing and, don't engage themselves in such nasty acts.

Although in the North, the industry is bound by some Shari'ah laws, have you ever had an experience where an actress tried to seduce you to get roles?
Whatever happens, the wiser ones know the implications, morally and religiously. I have never had any experience like that before.

But have you at one time or the other had an encounter with an actress who was ready to offer you sex for roles?
I have said it repeatedly that I don't have the experience. Those category of actresses always know the kind of persons they approach with such offers. I don't give them the face to tempt me. They say I'm strong-headed.

You mean if a beautiful lady winks at you, you won't respond?
(Laughter) Never! It is not in my character.

Artistes or film-makers are usually associated with a lot of scandals. As a movie director, have you ever been involved in such indignities?
I'm one of the guys that set the ball rolling and I have tried to conduct myself positively, to date, and I believe God has been, and still, behind me. This is evident in the kind of movies I make. Had I gotten myself involved in such indignities, I would have probably ‘gone with the wind’

How did you manage to overcome them (the scandals)?
Stay out of trouble; do the right thing at the right time.

You are still single. Can we say Ishaq is searching?
Not really

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Economic Links and State of Development of Hausa Home Videos

...On The Question Of Rebranding:
(Published in LEADERSHIP September 5, 2009)
According to reports by the Global Media Entertainment outfit commissioned by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), the motion pictures industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy.
The sector turns out billions of dollars and generates millions of jobs worldwide. The PWC reports projected that the global entertainment industry generated over $470 billion by 2005.
The term ‘film industry’ is generally used to describe an umbrella of creative industry production activities, including film, television (drama and documentaries), commercials, still photography and multi-media.
The Nigeria Movie Industry (NMI) is comprised of the combined forces of Nollywood and Kannywood have made the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to acknowledge the three main video and movie production centres of Lagos, Onitsha and Kano. Nollywood refers to movies produced in the production centres in Lagos and Onitsha as Nollywood, while Kannywood simply refers to the Hausa film industry domiciled across the North but with the marketing and production hub in Kano. It produces about 30 per cent of Nigeria’s movies which are predominantly in Hausa language but with few others in Fulfulde, Nupe, Kanuri, Tiv and English languages.
Presently, the NMI is the second largest producer of straight-to-home video entertainment movies in a whole world. According to the survey conducted in 99 countries by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Institute of Statistics (IS), and with the result released in May 2009, the year 2006 recorded feature length films produced video format, which shows India with 1,019, Nigeria 872, and United States 485. This record clearly shows Nigeria as the second largest world’s producer of films and Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of monetary value estimated at $250 million; the sheer number of 200 videos produced every month. Based on report, the Nigerian model has the multi-lingualism advantage as 56 per cent of the films are produced in local languages: Yoruba ,31 per cent; Hausa, 24 per cent; Igbo, 1 per cent and English films accounting for 44 per cent accordingly.
The Nigeria film industry has significantly more than any other endeavour in the last 15 years played a central role in establishing an international profile for the country’s culture. It is an industry of national importance and has been one of the greatest ambassadors for Nigeria around the world.
The Nigeria film industry has been identified as one of the top five growing sectors and has been selected as one of the key activities likely to produce economic growth.

•Economic Links
The Nigeria film and television industry is a significant component of our economy as it provides an important source of economic growth and employment. The creative process of putting a story into film is a complex, expensive and labour-intensive business operation. Thus, like any major business operation, film and television productions require a wide range of services and scores of personnel from frontline actors and directors to behind-the-scenes employees like sound engineers, set designers, and caterers. In meeting these material and resource demands, companies provide substantial economic benefits to a wide range of industries in the locality where production takes place. The economic significance of the film, television and video industry could be demonstrated by identifying the links between this sector and the rest of the economy. The film sector is one of the few sectors that could add value to a wide range of other sectors in the economy through the creation of demand for production and services. In general, the film industy outwits the rest of the economy: over the last nine years, the sector has grown by over 40 per cent. According to Leke Adler, the market potential of the industry in Nigeria is relative to the size of each state's economy, at least by N522.5b per annum.
The spin-offs of the film industry could be identified by studying its value chain. Each production results in jobs for camera operators, sound and lighting technicians, caterers, plumbers, carpenters, animal trainers, truck drivers, make-up artists, graphic artists, photographers, set designers, painters and actors. Production budgets are spent on a range of production from hardware to props, plants to steel, paint to timber, draperies to carpets, furniture to portable dressing rooms, generators to saddle makers, and restaurants to hotel rooms. The value chain of the film, television and video industry extends to many other sectors of the economy creating a catalytic growth effect. The economic multiplier used to calculate the amount of money generated by film production is estimated to be 2.5. This means that for every N1 spent on production, N2.50 goes into the local economy.
The export earnings and economic benefits of feature film, television and commercial production cannot be singularly directed towards industry-related services, facilities, equipment rentals or production purchases. Instead, the benefits are part of a wider economic platform of job creation, retail sales, manufacturing, travel and tourism earnings that would otherwise not be injected into the state.
Film production also creates a resource that has considerable export value.In the United States, film entertainment remains the second biggest export earner. In recent years, developing countries have realised the value of marketing locations for film, television and video production. Most developing countries only attract medium to low budget production, which results in limited benefit and spin-offs. These benefits are optimised when domestic film production companies generate a larger share of total production within a region or country.
Film production is a “locomotive” industry, similar to housing construction and automobiles, in that the number of production workers directly working in the industry belies the true impact of the industry on the economy because so many upstream, downstream, and peripheral industries depend on the primary production plant. Unofficial industry statistics indicate that over 300,000 jobs in Nigeria are directly involved in film production - more than the number of workers directly employed in any other sector. Once again, these statistics do not measure the number of workers in secondary and tertiary industries that are directly involved in film productions. This would include carpenters, electricians, caterers, drivers, seamstresses, construction workers, and many other professions that may not be exclusively or primarily devoted to film production.

Re-branding, as far as I know, is to harbour a wind of change in character, nature and general orientation of the people in a certain community or society. Also, it may be termed as an act of reverting to status-quo. When applied to Nigeria, it means characterisation to the best. In so doing, this great nation will revert itself to its former state of uniqueness. Critics opined that there would be no rebranding without the motion picture industry as its main canvassers. Talking movies, re-branding is the change in the way we depict the image of our country and culture in our movies, both locally and internationally.
The epicentre of this workshop is the motion picture practitioners of Kannywood who have for long been exposed to a programme similar to what we are talking about today. Section 36, sub-section 1A and B of the NFVCB enabling law, explicitly coincide with the re-branding of Kannwood/Nollywood project where only films that promote Nigerian culture, unity, interest and which are not likely to induce the corruption of private morality, among others, are to be censored and classified for exhibition and distribution, both in and outside Nigeria. The point here is that NFVCB will ensure that only movies that re-brand Nigeria will see the light of the day.
Re-branding the Nigeria film industry is crucial as the sector has significantly more than any other endeavour in the last 15 years played a central role in establishing an international profile for our country and our culture. It is an industry of national importance and has been one of the great ambassadors for Nigeria around the world.
Consequent to the growth and development of the Nigerian Movie Industry, the NFVCB believes very strongly that the Nollywood/Kannywood and Nigeria in general should define their identity, character, image and influence from the movie’s global window.
I hope the practitioners of Kannywood will utilise this workshop to provide integration of cultural values and cohesion within the Northern film industry thereby desisting from the Indian-type films the region is known for.
At this point, I would like to inform the partcipants and resource persons at this workshop that the director-general of the NFVCB has brilliantly initiated a New Distribution Framework (NDF), which if fully implemented through the board’s shared responsibility plan with state governments, will have a national coverage and serve as a medium through which Kannywood will be re-branded.

•How can we rebrand Kannywood?
Considering the following facts, I believe Kannywood will come to stay if and only if:
-Movies are produced in the context of the religion and culture of the people represented.
-All industry activities are conducted in the context of the religion and culture of the people represented.
-Motion picture practitioners are adequately, religiously, culturally, and professionally trained.
-Film making is not considered unislamic.
-Film makers Are not stigmatised or exposed to stigma by clerics.
-Our religious and cultural institutions appreciate the value of the film industry and engage in sensitising and educating the practitioners through seminars and workshops.
-The Northern businessmen and women appreciate the industry and invest in it.
-Due process and rule of law are absolutely observed.
-Kannywood is sanitised through sensitisation, stakeholders/consumer education, monitoring and legal action taken against recalcitrant producers, distributors and unyielding pirates.
-The cultural, national values and dignity are not compromised while educating and entertaining the public.
-Professional guilds and associations are empowered.
-Stringent conditions imposed on practitioners by some government agencies are softened.
-All industry stakeholders unite, develop, and implement a programme of action that could move the industry forward.
-The Northern Nigeria is perceived as the premiere location offering the film industry a unique blend of professional services - locations, skills, and other support services.
-Locations, facilities, and services are of the highest quality and offer some of the best value for money.
-Kannywood is regarded as an important contributor to the region's economic growth, and is identified as a priority sector, supported by the community at large.
-The Northern state governments offer competitive incentives to attract inbound production activities.
-Filming contributes significantly to creation of new jobs and increasing number share directly in the benefits derived from the industry.
-Filming becomes an all year round cultural and economic activity.
Lastly, I would like to urge both the regulators and operators to adhere to the rule of law and due process in all their endeavours and fight all forces that hinder the growth of the industry. Thank you.

Dr. Sarari is North-West zonal coordinator of NFVCB. He delivered this paper at the just concluded workshop organised by Zaria Film Makers, at Congo Confrence Hall, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

On NFVCB's NDF: We Are Selling The New Distribution Framework - Rabo

By Al-Amin Ciroma
(Published in LEADERSHIP today)

In 2007, when Mallam Abubakar Rabo took over the mantle of leadership as the director-general of the Kano-State Censorship Board, he inherited a movie industry that had no standard or respect for professionalism. Most of the companies in the industry were existing in portfolios or in vehicles. They were not even registered with CAC and had no structures. And so he started a clean up exercise targeted at sanitising the industry and building structures. Many stakeholders considered his measures then as being too stringent . He proudly opened up in this interview to say that in Kannywood today that, 'We are selling the new distribution framework' . He also spoke on a wide range of issues in the industry and on the soft loans the state government is giving to filmmakers to raise standards. Excerpts:

On assessment of the movie industry vis-a-vis job creation and youth empowerment
I want to say that the movie industry, particularly Kannywood is a very good economic activity. It’s an empowerment sector and of course it is very complementary to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria as a nation. I have to appreciate the administration of Umaru Musa Yar'Adua for the vision 2020 with regards to economic growth, as projected.

On the level of compliance by stakeholders
The level of compliance is encouraging, because we are speaking professionalism this time around. We are speaking ethics; we are speaking standards when it comes to the employment of gadgets in public projects, filmmaking in particular. So when you speak in line with what is the standard; what is the practice, I don't think you will have any problem with very good hands. People used to cheap projects are used to cheap popularity, and they don't appreciate modern trends. Some are even drop outs. They see our measures as being stringent. How can you convincce a mediocre person, somebody that has not yet completed secondary school to conform to modern trends? A professional in the industry, like a movie director, ought to have some directing skills, likewise a producer, a scriptwriter and so on. It is not just talent or creativity that matters. It is far more than that, because when talent is shaped educationally, then definitely the outcome is going to be a multiplier of positive trends. When we were new here, there was not one production company with a corporate registration operating in Kannywood. Now we have more than 52 that are duly registered with the CAC and pay their taxes. They are no longer tax evaders. They register with the state Ministry of Commerce, co-operatives, and register with the local authorities.

On conviction of Iyantama
No practitioner was taken before our mobile courts and charged on anything outside the law. If people are sincere, they should find out. We are now in the world of verification, world of scientific proof. Things shouldn't be concluded without given fair hearing being given to the other party. Far more than what is being said about a stakeholder that was prosecuted or taken for prosecution, before any court of law, the Board has a stake. We ought to be contacted.
All we do is to supplement, to provide and to complement prosecution counsels where very necessary, with facts, evidence and the necessary sections of the law establishing our operations to prove beyond reasonable doubt that so and so person is really a defaulter. So, Hamisu Lamido Iyantama in particular was never in the history of his case regarded by the counsel before the court of law as a practitioner outside the film industry. He was taken as a practitioner in the Kannywood industry and was charged from the appropriate section of the Kano State Censorship Board’s law and he was sentenced accordingly by the same court of law. So ours is a legal battle from the point of professionalism and from the point of law and we are soft and open-minded people. We always invite stakeholders to learn their mistakes for the first time, but where crime or breach of law persists, then we have to go ahead with prosecution, this is our style, we believe in proactive measures. First of all, we issue a warning sometimes, but if crimes persist we don't have any other option but rather to prosecute.

On film release in Kano
This is in line with the arrangements of NFCVB, that states have the right to have similar regulatory agencies. This is the provision of the Nigerian constitution, concurrent legislation. In the concurrent legislative list of the 1999 amended constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, items 16, and 13 spelt out the power of the state assembly or state assemblies to establish similar bodies meant for censoring.

On whether the arrangement would not create a bottleneck
It is never a bottleneck when authorities are exercising their constitutional powers and whosoever feels offended by the state and local authorities’ nature is trying to be a deviant and I don't want to believe that it’s the culture of our practitioners. In Nigeria, there are customary laws operating in some quarters of the nation. There is the penal code in the northern part of this country, notwithstanding the constitution that operates in the entire nation. So it is not seen as a bottleneck by the good minds. In fact it is even better for you to be checked locally when it comes to the peculiarities of where you are operating-the societal values. It is better known by the local authorities, it is better known by the local stakeholders, it is now reshaped and it is now blessed and certified by the local authorities. It’s making your project ‘heavy’ because even if you take it for international exhibition, you will start by saying that even your local quarters appreciate your project, proven by the certification and the national certification. And that as a good citizen of your country, I am in compliance with the requirement and this is the position of the DG of NFVCB. He was saying that state censorship agencies, being very close to the stakeholders, are in a better position to respect and ensure compliance with the societal values, compliance to the local requirement of practitioners, than even the national video censors and when such certification is presented to the National Film and Video Censors Board, they would assume that things have been done on their behalf by the local or by the state agency.

On Filmmakers fleeing from Kano
This is history! When we were new here, we were of the view that things ought to be done the right way, the professional way, the standard way. Somebody who is used to M3500 cameras and now you are talking digital camera, he feels these changes are too stringent. Somebody who is used to filming without a script, you are now saying, scripts must be introduced, somebody who is operating a mobile production company, you are now saying must have an office, he feels it’s too stringent. Somebody who doesn’t regard the CAC or their form of registration and certification.

On the relationship with stakeholders
The relationship is cordial, because what is expected of a mother is that she breastfeed her child, is lenient with the child, shows some amount of mercy to the child. This is why we are now introducing soft loans to the stakeholders. In the law establishing this Board, it is not well accommodated that we are a filmmaking agency, or we are a development agency to film activities. We are nothing but a regulatory body, just like the NFVCB. There is no department given a very bulk amount of money from the national treasurey to be administering soft loans to the NFVCB because it’s not the primary of the body. But now we at the local level come to appreciate that, no we don't have Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC) like the nation is operating, you understand. So now why don't we make the government appreciate the need for investment. Now the government has appreciated, that and has started investing money. It has started investing in skill. We have sponsored more than 15 practitioners to various technical and training workshops. We were there, at Shoot! 2008. The participation of Kano State was higher than other states of the federation and we all sponsored the practitioners just to ensure that there is skill in Kannywood. Above all, we want the filmmakers in appreciate the code of ethics attainable to their profession. You can only have this if you have the knowledge. That’s why we have embarked on a series of training, seminars.

On areas of collaboration with NFVCB
There is the first offer given to, us which we are still looking into, by the director-general of NFVCB. He is using this Board as a primary or preliminary censoring agency for the national preview committee. I see that as a very good offer, a situation whereby our certificate will be requested. Any film that is Kannywood-based, any film that is made about our native culture, native society, will be introduced to the Board through our certification. I see that as a very good offer. Secondly, there is the area of having a sort of memorandum of understanding. When we accommodated the DG (NFVCB), we hosted him for a two days familiarisation visit where we interacted. The board, the state board, the national board and teeming stakeholders, so look at the level we have been operating at. Even when we were at Tinapa, the key paper presented by the NFVCB’s boss was remarked. We are now selling the New Distribution Framework (NDF), we administered questionnaires to our stakeholders of all the ideas of this new framework for exhibitors introduced by NFVCB. We are here at the grassroots to complement the national arrangement, with consideration to our peculiarities.

On ensuring that films released before the take-off of NDF are withdrawn and re-distributed to conform with the new framework
I believe that where we are expected to complement NFVCB to that effect, (the withdrawal), if we are communicated to, if we are involved, we will do it officially and even if we are not officially involved, or we are never asked, out of our appreciation of the wisdom behind these initiatives, believe me, we will be advocates and we will encourage our stakeholders to appreciate that what is being introduced, is for the development of the industry.

On the area of film development
Presently, we make the government appreciate things through a task force committee established by the Kano State government. A committee that came into being as a result of the Hiyana saga, the controversial film clip. We made the government appreciate the fact that, the history of our industry goes way back to when troupes were 100% under the sponsorship of the state government, under the sponsorship of media houses owned by the state government in the northern part of this country.
On the area of training, we have so far, of recent organised a cinematography workshop jointly with the French embassy, the Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), another professional association, to ensure that our cinematographers operating from Kannywood have the best experience.

On attracting filmmakers from other regions to Kannywood
We are trying to do films to meet our local, unique, peculiar requirements. It is when you have a unique package that people will come to appreciate your potential. Let me give you an example. The typical Hausa bowl which you use to eat, if you are exposed to it and if it is introduced in projects, use the way we were living before the contemporary modern building, if it is well packaged, believe me, somebody from Asia, America or Europe will be interested in the uniqueness. But in a situation whereby you are making semi-western sort of projects, a copyright from India for example, nobody will appreciate you. Therefore, before you invite somebody to come to your house, you have to put necessary structures in place.

Taking you away from business, how do you relax?
I relax with my kids, watching cartoons, it has also made me adapt to their way of doing thing; you know kids with cartoons. Sometimes we even argue. I derive pleasure in playing with kids.
Culled from The Classifier

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2-Effects Empire Rejoices On Birth Of New Baby

By Al-Amin Ciroma
(Published in LEADERSHIP -- August 22)

The Kannywood’s Dolce & Gabbanna, Yakubu Mohammed (Yax) (famous movie director, lyricist & singer) and Sani Musa Danja (top actor, producer and playback singer) are celebrating the addition to Yax’s family through the safe delivery of his bouncing baby girl. The baby was born Thursday August 13, 2009.
The naming ceremony and Walimat took place at ace Director’s residence, Saminu Link, Badawa Layout, off Sardauna Crescent, Nasarawa, Kano last Thursday August 20, in line with the Islamic traditions. In attendance were cerebrated icons of the industry, including relatives, friends and well wishers.
Yakubu Muhammed and his lovely wife Halima-Sa’adiyya, named their beloved daughter, Nadiya-Ummu Salama.
It will be recalled that Danja, last year, also celebrated his daughter's (Khadijatul-Iman) naming ceremony in Abuja, where he and his wife, Mansura, hosted the crème-de-la crème of the society.

...And Nollywood: On Edochie's Release

Published on August 22, 2009 (LEADERSHIP)

By Al-Amin Ciroma
Stories on the update about the recent kidnapping of the renowned Nollywood star, Pete Edochie show that the Nollywood dude has been set free by the kidnappers after an undisclosed amount was paid as ransom, his son Uche Edochie, has said. Some sources close to the family said that the kidnappers initially demanded N50m and when they went ahead to plead, reduced the ransom to N10m.
The veteran actor was held by the kidnappers for about 24 hours; from Sunday last week when he was kidnapped till Monday, 17 August 2009.
He was kidnapped at a village called Npkor, a surbub community near Onitsha in the company of his family members. Armed men stopped the car he was travelling in and Pete Edochie was the only one kidnapped. Details still foggy since there has been no trace of the kidnappers.
Pete Edochie is considered one of Africa's most talented actors, by both Movie Awards and Movie Magic's Africa Magic Cable network. Although a seasoned administrator and broadcaster, he came into prominence in the 1980s when he played the lead role of ‘Okonkwo’ in an NTA adaptation of Chinua Achebe's all time best selling novel, Things Fall Apart.
Edochie got into radio broadcasting in 1967 as a junior programme assistant after which he was elevated to the level of a Director. He was director of programmes, but doubling sometimes as Deputy Managing Director and occasionally acting as Managing Director.
He quit ABS because the government decided to politicise the affairs of their FM station, thereby resulting in the entire management being asked to move out, including him. He was to be the immediate successor to the MD but had to leave and enrol in the movie industry.
Prior to that, he had featured in Things Fall Apart and had won International Awards. The BBC flew into Nigeria to interview him for his role in Things Fall Apart.
Minister of Information and Communications, Dora Akunyili, in a statement, condemned the attack and called on security agents to ensure his quick release and also, counter future occurences.
Also speaking, the president of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Ejike Asiegbu said, “We at AGN are not happy with the kidnapping and abduction of Chief Pete Edochie. We condemn it and pray that government will interfare and rescue the matter from future occurence.”
Meanwhile, lots of people are sending in their comments on the matter. A blogger posted his comments on what he termed 'lies' of the police, "Is it not embarrassing that the Anambra State Police Command said Pete Edochie was not kidnapped, but that armed bandits escaped with his car and just carried him along to use his influence to pass the Police whereas in fact, he was kidnapped and a ransom paid before he was released? What kind of Police Force do we have in this country? Must our police continue to tell these kind of infantile lies?"
Many movie makers in Nollywood have condemned the incident. A market survey revealed that the case brought a hault in the movie business in Nigeria. A lot of people, according to the survey, have been thrown out of business since the beginning of the case. “It is unfortunate, because since Edochie was kidnapped, we can tell the amount of loss experienced by to the industry, because we can’t do anything...” cried one movie maker.

Beyond The Shores... From Bollywood: Sharukh Khan Detained At US Airport

Published in LEADERSHIP (August 22, 2009)

By Al-Amin Ciroma
The famous Filmfare Best Actor, 2008, Sharukh Khan was said to have been detained by security agents at the Newark International Airport, New Jersey for hours. The Bollywood actor said he was humiliated after being detained for questioning at the immigration department of the airport, but later downplayed the incident as an "unfortunate procedure."
Reports indicate that Khan, 43, was questioned for more than an hour and detained, according to him because, his picture showed up on a security alert list. "It was absolutely uncalled for, having just finished work there a couple of weeks ago," he said. Adding that, "They said I have a common name which caused the delay... they checked my bags... I felt angry and humiliated."
In a statement, the officials at the airport said they were only concerned about the actor's luggage, which was reported missing. According to them, the questioning was part of routine process. The statement further indicated that the examination took only 66 minutes - which they said would've taken less time had Khan's luggage not been lost, a statement, which the actor denied, saying that he was singled out for questioning by the US immigration officials due to his Muslim name -- sparking outrage among his millions of Indian fans, as well as senior politicians and the Indian press.
"America needs to understand one thing... that there are about 190-195 smaller countries and that make up the rest of the world. It's not an isolated, parallel universe existence for this country. There is a whole world which makes all the good and bad that is happening," said the actor, who is one of the biggest names in Bollywood.
"So if we are scared of violence and terrorism, all of us are responsible for it. It's not that the world is and America is not," he said. Khan further disclosed that he understood US security concerns after the 9/11 attacks.
Meanwhile, the Indian civil aviation minister vowed to take the matter up with the US government, while Indian newspapers slammed the discrimination allegedly inflicted on one of the country's most loved actors.
US officials have said that Sharukh Khan, was subject only to routine procedures at the airport and was questioned for little more than an hour. But the actor Khan, just came back from the United States where he finished shooting his film, My Name is Khan, a movie due out next year that features the contentious subject of racial profiling.
The US embassy in New Delhi attempted to end the controversy describing Khan as a "global icon," who was a welcome guest in the United States.
It will be recalled that series of classic racial profiling have hit Bollywood icons, and this is seen as a clear abuse of civil liberties and lack of due diligence from the bureaucratic side of the US government. "It's not the iconic Sharukh Khan who should be intimidated, its the lazy, ignorant, unionized employee who should feel threatened and it is time to kick to the curb the incompetent, in a recession full of qualified people who can do the job of a US border official far better," says the film maker.
Reports also show that famous among those humiliated were Kamal Haasan, an Indian actor, who was detained in April 2002 for hours at the airport, after commencing the film Pantchathathiram's shoot in Toronto, on his way to Los Angeles. Reports also show that Aamir Khan had a similar experience a month before Haasan at a Chicago airport.
"Each year thousands more tourists and famous filmmakers join the silent ranks of those terrorised by the racial profiling practiced by the Western immigration and police. What chance does an average tourist have in the US when even the Ex-President of India, Dr. Kalam was hassled there," added Mr. Nair, the famous Indian Filmmaker, stressing the fact that this is not an isolated incident.