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Monday, July 15, 2024

AGN presents regulations and submits final report on nautical accident

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The Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) has introduced new bylaws for the Nigerian film industry.

President Emeka Rollas made the announcement during a press conference on Tuesday.

Statutes are rules or laws established by an organization or community to regulate itself, as permitted or ordered by some higher authority.

On the occasion, the Guild also presented what it described as the final report on the April 10 boat accident that claimed the lives of Jnr Pope and four other crew members of Adam Luke's film “Other Side of Life”.

The unfortunate deaths not only shocked Nollywood but also raised concerns about safety issues on film sets, prompting calls for closer scrutiny and higher standards in the industry.

Following the incident, the AGN banned the actors from filming movies in coastal areas and from taking part in boat trips.

Presenting the bylaws to the media, Rollas said the tragedy necessitated the implementation of strict rules and guidelines in Nollywood and the formation of a committee to investigate the accident.

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He also highlighted the importance of new regulations, including guidelines on well-being, finances, standard safety guidelines, established protocols and standards in film production.

“This will demonstrate to members that we take the guild seriously. We came up with this presentation because the guild cannot move forward without structures that meet established international standards and practices.

“For two months, these people exchanged ideas. The core of their discussions was improving actor safety, working conditions and industry standards,” he said.

Talking tough

Rollas stressed the importance of complying with the new laws, saying, “This also means that after these laws are passed, if people intentionally violate the guild laws, we will take it very seriously because time was spent developing this structure.”

Emeka Ike, a veteran actor, chaired the bylaws committee, with Jude Orhorha as secretary.

Other notable members include Bimbo Manuel, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Joke Silva, Francis Duru, Patience Ozokwor, Hilda Dokubo, Abubakar Yakubu, Gideon Okeke, Anthony Ogbetere and Femi Branch.

In his speech, the committee chairman stressed the importance of the new statutes.

Ike said: “A nation without statutes does not exist. An association or group without statutes is not profitable. The Nigerian film industry has been living in this situation. This is one of the reasons why things are not properly regulated, why there is not much residual income and why people in the industry are not getting the benefits they should be getting.

“People are going to make contracts without having experience and in this regard, it is the wisdom of Mr. President that we sit as a committee to find ways to address these problems that have existed in the entertainment industry related to acting.”

Ike, a former president of AGN, described the statutes as “a milestone.”

He said: “This is going to cause a stir in the entire industry. I have also heard that the Association of Motion Picture Producers (AMP) is already working on its bylaws.”

“This would encourage Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo filmmakers to adopt similar standards, leading to a better industry where everyone would benefit. These statutes contain everything related to acting. The President will make them known to the press and actors.”

Ike noted that rather than solely address the circumstances surrounding Jr. Pope's death through the committee, the chairman (Rollas) decided to implement the bylaws to establish protocols for handling such incidents in the future.

Following his speech, the Chairman of the Committee officially handed over the completed document “Draft of the AGN Statute” to the President.

Fundamental reason

Rollas mentioned that after the ship accident he quickly established a committee to investigate the immediate causes of the accident.

After the committee investigating the boat accident, chaired by Kevin Uvo, submitted its final report, it addressed misinformation on social media about the “Asaba incident”.

The President stressed the need for accurate reporting in such situations.

“We lost five people, including actor Junior Pope, which is unfortunate; social media made the situation worse with unverified information,” Uvo said.

Rollas also revealed that the bylaws are still in the process of being adopted and involve representatives from state chapters. He assured the media that the bylaws will be available online for public access once they are finalized.

“Once all state chapter representatives and members adopt it, we will begin mass production. We are trying to have online copies available for download on our website so that even non-members can access them and understand the criteria of the system,” Rollas explained.

Asked by reporters about the guild's plans to educate the public and actors, Rollas said, “The enlightenment would come later, when the bylaws have been adopted and are available to the press.

“These laws will help people know how to react when Nollywood faces problems. We will engage in information programmes for our members, fans and the general public.”

The president also noted that the statutes are expected to be published before the end of 2024.

After the presentation, the president of the AGN dissolved the commissions.

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