Nigeria’s film industry influencers have begun an online protest to ensure the federal government lifts the ban on the closure of cinemas nationwide.
The online protest tagged hashtag ‘Save Cinemas’ flooded timelines on Monday, August 17 and saw actors and filmmakers relate how the continued closure continues to stifle the growth of the entertainment industry.
Veteran actress, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde wrote on Instagram: “I believe cinemas are easier to monitor and regulate. If other indoor places are open, why not the Cinemas? Temp checks, masks, distancing etc. We need to work together to ensure safer ways to keep the Arts going . Many livelihoods depend on this. It can and MUST be done as safely as possible. #savecinemas“.
Ace director, Steve Gukas joined the protest with an Instagram post. “The ability of the film industry to grow and sustain itself is directly linked to how much money films earn in various windows. The cinema is a very important revenue source. Keeping them shut has dire consequence for the industry. Given how many of our youth make a living from this industry, it is time to give this a second look”.
According to singer, actor Falz, the government contributes almost nothing to the creative sector. “Right now, we don’t see anything but a government that contributes little or nothing to its creative sector and continues to attempt to stifle the sector in every way. Thousands of people have been left without any way to earn for several months. The entertainment industry must be allowed to gradually get back in business!! Let’s start with cinemas reopening”, wrote Falz.
Other film influencers to join the protest include Obi Emelonye, Toyin Abraham, Jide Kene Achufusi, Osas Ighodaro, Bellindah Effah, Enyinna Nwigwe, Lilian Afegbai among others.
Cinemas in Nigeria have been closed since April 2020 following directives by the federal government amid the Covid-19 pandemic.