Published on 10th July, 2010 (Leadership Newspapers)
By Al-Amin Ciroma
My heart bleeds each time I browse through the internet, or pages of national dailies, which often report the unending feud between the director-general, Kano State Censorship Board (KSCB), Mallam Abubakar Rabo Abdulkareem, and Hausa filmmakers; a show which is opt to portray the steep side of the ace in the hole.
However, even when one tries to 'put his heart in the right place,' the result is always frustrating, come to think of it, every parent is expected to see to the proper upbringing of his child, I wonder if at all, both parties have in the past imbibed a sense of sine qua non in order to achieve a particular thing in common, but never the twain shall meet.
The fracas between the two parties reignites immediately, after the leak of a nude video clip of one of the actresses in the Hausa film industry. Inside Kannywood gathered that long before the KSCB's boss assumed office as its alpha and omega, the relationship between movie makers and Rabo (then the Hisba commander), was not a smooth one. The feud, according to commentators, rekindled when the latter mounted the helm of affairs of the Kano State Censors Board. In his campaign to sanitise the industry, the Abubakar Rabo-led board, aimed at infusing wisdom in the Hausa film industry, with a view to brazen out all social disorders in order to encourage producers to produce high quality movies, which depict the true Hausa cultural heritage and with an Islamic flavour, lost out as the stated objectives of the board seemed to take a different angle far from achieving its true mission.
Apart from the indiscriminate and unsystematic incarceration of movie makers, nothing else seemed to be the board's major priority. A lot of producers, marketers and actors were detained, while practitioners, who commented on the saga were of the opinion that the record of random incarceration of practitioners of nascent industry were full of question marks. It also portrayed the Governor Shekarau system of 'rewarding for excellence.' A filmmaker, who spoke in anonymity, recalled that Shekarau's 2007 campaign organisers took advantage of Hausa movie stars in propelling his way into second term in office. "We were fully committed in the 'Allah Maimaita,' (prayers for second term) campaign of Governor Shekarau, with full support for his mandates, but immediately he assumed office for the second term, we became his prey. The unfortunate Hiyana incident is a sad one, and we all condemned her act, but when Rabo was appointed as chief censor, giving him mandate and power (at his discretion) to counter ill vices and regenerate the industry, we all accepted him with one heart, but gradually, he began to use his power to suppress us." He said. Adding that it will be difficult for one to account for the KSCB's success in regenerating the industry. The prominent movie icon, further highlighted possibilities in rejuvenating a certain corrupt society, he said, "What they fail to understand is that no matter what, you cannot change a society or community without giving room for comprise and understanding. But the way things are happening in Kano State clearly portrays their intention on waging a war against us. "Can anyone tell me a single thing that the KSCB has achieved over the years?"
The most debatable arrest from the series of incarcerations by the board was that of Hamisu Lamido Iyantama, a renowned producer, for allegedly releasing his movie, Tsintsiya in Kano State. The board claimed that Iyantama is operating a non registered company, Iyantama Multimedia, which the producer and chairman of the company claimed as false. Iyantama argued that his company has been dully registered with the corporate affairs commission for over 15 years.
What baffled me is that after successfully conquering filmmakers from their home state, being forced to abscond and migrate to neighbouring states , the Rabo-led 'army' still extended its tentacles to Kaduna, in a bid to subversively call on the general public to move against the filmmakers. That again, provoked movie makers, most especially, Kaduna-based filmmakers, who enjoy a cordial relationship with its state government, and the people of the state. In a live television interview, Mallam Abubakar Rabo alleged that pornographic movies were being produced in Hausa. This engineered the Kaduna filmmakers' caucus to file suit against Mallam Abubakar Rabo, calling for justice. The case turned into a drama of sorts when the accused never for once honoured the court's summon. When a bench warrant was issued against Mallam Rabo, he secured a court injunction against his arrest. Not only that, the KSCB boss also lodged fresh charges against Kaduna movie makers in Kano saying, they threatened him with periled text messages. He called on the Kano State police command to act accordingly.
An editor of a Hausa entertainment magazine, Fim, Aliyu Abdullahi Gora II, fell victim as one of the accused persons in the ploy by Mallam Rabo. On the evening of Wednesday, June 30, the editor, Gora was in his office, when he received strange visitors from the police command, who arrested him, locked him up, and took him to Kano the next day for prosecution. They immediately took him to court but unfortunately, the judge was not in court, so Gora ended up being remanded in prison.
At last Monday's hearing of the case, Magistrate Halima Nasiru, of the Chief Magistrate Court 25, presided over the case. Upon listening to charges brought against the journalist, and the ensuing bail application, granted him bail on the condition of a surety on level 17, and resident in Kano, or businessman with an established registered company.
Earlier, the court listened to the police prosecutor, Saleh Umar, who presented the accused as a suspect for criminal intimidation charges, which he said, contravened section 341 of the Criminal Procedure Court (CPC). Adding that if found guilty of the offence, the accused will be sent to seven years imprisonment based on the provisions of relevant sections of the law.
Counsel to the accused, Barrister Tajudeen O. Funsho, prayed the court to admit the accused on bail, arguing that since the charges are not conclusive on the alleged offence, the accused journalist can be granted bail.
However, the prosecutor countered the position of the lawyer and prayed the court to remand the suspect in prison while the case was ongoing, saying that allowing the suspect to walk free may tamper with the judicial process.
Barrister Funsho, on his part, said since the suspect was never found wanting in any similar situation in the past, there was no reason that he should not be granted bail. After listening to both parties, Magistrate Nasiru granted the accused bail and adjourned the case to July 27.
Magistrate Nasiru Lere of Magistrate Court, Ibrahim Taiwo road, Kaduna, adjurned the case between Mallam Rabo and Kaduna filmmakers to July 13 for proceedings. Earlier on, counsel to the complainant, Barrister Sadau Garba, on June 28, argued that the accused, Mallam Rabo, who secured an injunction against the bench-warrant is not above the law. Adding that his clients, the complainants are law abiding citizens of Nigeria, and hence, the frequent court sessions. He called on the court to continue the proceeding.
On the exparte application, Barrister Sadau argued that the Kaduna magistrate court is not under Kano State and as such, the order is void. Saying that since his clients are not party to the injuction order by the accused, there was no reason for the complainant not to proceed with the case. "I humbly apply that the matter be transfered to the State Security Service (SSS) for further interrogation, since the complainants are here to seek justice and the accused person, failed to honour court summons." The presiding judge Magistrate Lere, having heard both sides adjourned the case to July 13 for further proceedings.
The time has now come for the master to be on the stump. Certainly, the hunter has now become the hunted.