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    Why the AMVCA Matters to Nigerian Entertainment Industry



    Born in 2013 from a recognition of the immense potential of African films and fuelled by the dissatisfaction that the creativity and talent were not reaching beyond the shores of the continent, the AMVCA has finally reached its milestone edition, and it is set to take place this weekend.

    Expectedly, speculations are rife on what exactly the AMVCA 10 would present, save for the usual glitz and glamour, dresses and looks that cut a dash and a gathering of celebrities and talent in a room radiating with stardom. But the AMVCA serves as both a momentary as well as a long-term reprieve, especially against the current backdrop of a nation decimated by economic downturn — a reality vividly depicted in a recent report by SBM Intelligence, highlighting the exponential increase in prices of commodities in Nigeria.

    The AMVCA, after all, stands not only as one of the most extravagant awards ceremonies in Africa but also as a significant booster of the nation’s economy, having invested over N9 billion and creating an estimated total of 27,000 jobs through its last nine editions. The hospitality, transportation and logistics, fashion and beauty, event planning, marketing and creative design industries are some of the direct sector beneficiaries.

    For every viewer who embraces the ideals of what the AMVCA represents, a sceptic wonders whether they’re worth the big to-do. And one needs only to highlight some of the positives of the awards show to placate those doubts.

    For starters, a nomination alone can transform one’s career.

    “Before AMVCA, I was just an actor; when I won, I became a recognised actor, and after AMVCA, I became a popular actor, and now, I have become a celebrated actor,” says Rotimi Salami, Nollywood Actor.

    “It’s the most talked-about event in Africa; it’s the combination of the MET Gala, Oscar and Emmys all in one. Fashion statements are made, funny red-carpet moments captured, and people’s life-changing moments captured; it’s a beautiful night that showcases talent in Africa. We all get to visit another country through film,” says ex-reality TV star turned actress and filmmaker, Diane Russet.

    Undoubtedly, an AMVCA win is a career highlight — the kind that leads to larger paychecks and budgets. Even a nomination is a remarkable achievement given the hundreds of qualified films in contention each year. It’s especially a boost in visibility for those who work behind the scenes in the more technical aspects of filmmaking, such as sound engineers, lighting or costume design.

    Yet, the influence of the awards show extends far beyond individual careers. It has helped to raise the profile and prestige of the African film industry, encouraging more investment and support from both local and international stakeholders.

    The grand production and presentation of the awards capture the attention of the global film community, promoting African cinema on an international scale and fostering opportunities for collaborations and co-productions. This, in turn, raises standards for production quality, encouraging filmmakers to invest in better equipment, technology, and production values.

    Moreover, the recognition and prestige associated with the AMVCA help attract investment and funding to the African film industry, leading to increased production budgets and improved resources for filmmakers.

    Just as the AMVCA “has enabled audience expansion for African films majorly by Pan African inclusion and creating the platform of opportunity for creative cross-pollination,” as actress Osas Ighodaro notes, the AMVCA also has “the biggest red carpet on the continent. Giving young designers a chance to be a part of that is a huge opportunity,” according to Mai Atafo, bespoke Fashion Designer.

    This is to say, the AMVCA has emerged as a platform for showcasing African fashion and style. The red carpet at the AMVCA serves as a runway for glamorous and trend-setting outfits, showcasing the creativity and talent of African designers. This synergy between entertainment and fashion elevates the overall experience of the event and contributes to the promotion of African fashion on a global scale.

    In addition, the awards show enhances talent development by offering various masterclasses tailored for budding and established practitioners within the industry during the AMVCA event. This initiative is spearheaded by the MultiChoice Talent Factory, which offers training programs, workshops, and opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to hone their skills, gain industry exposure, and make meaningful contributions to the field. Distinguished professionals from different sectors of the industry cover a wide array of themes and topics, conducting training sessions, and holding engaging discussions with aspiring filmmakers.

    In and around the Eko Hotel and Suites, VI, Lagos, where the event will be held this weekend, on May 10 and 11, visitors from all around the continent will flock to bars, restaurants, and hotels, and utilise the services of various car rental agencies. The impact, therefore, extends beyond the realms of filmmaking to promote tourism and destination marketing across the nation. The AMVCA sparks curiosity and interest in exploring African destinations and this exposure boosts tourism and highlights investment opportunities within the tourism sector, ultimately contributing to economic growth and job creation.

    Indeed, MultiChoice’s N9 billion investment in the creative industry through the AMVCA is no mean feat. But there’s still a long way to go — Africa only contributes 1% to a global creative economy valued at $2.2 trillion.

    John Ugbe, CEO of West Africa, MultiChoice, acknowledges this disparity and underscores the need for a forward-looking stance for the AMVCA. He properly wraps it up: “While the industry is progressing at an impressive rate, more vigour and dynamism need to be applied in optimising its contribution to the socio-economic life of African countries and their people. AMVCA will remain a key player in the pursuit of this mission.”

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    FAAN: Improvement of Passenger Facilitation, Security Gave Boost to Tourism



    FAAN: Improvement of Passenger Facilitation, Security Gave Boost to Tourism

    The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said that its improvement of airport facilities, passenger facilitation and security has encouraged tourism in Nigeria.

    The agency said that the drastic action taken by the Managing Director, Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku against touting at the airports has brought sanity and orderliness to the satisfaction of travellers.

    Kuku identified some of these achievements when she spoke at the Wings of Change Focus Africa Conference (WOCFA) overseen by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last week; held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    A statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs & Consumer Protection, Obiageli Orah, said FAAN has recently taken steps to make Nigeria’s airports safe and accessible by genuine tourists and travellers and has also made efforts to eliminate touting and other forms of criminal conducts around the airports.

    FAAN boss also spoke on the recent creation of a dedicated Department for Cargo Services in the agency, as stakeholders emphasized the need for improvement of trade facilitation, including air cargo facilities and infrastructure, cargo compliance, closer collaboration amongst African countries and Stakeholders as well as Cargo Specialized Training for stakeholders.

    There was emphasis on digitalization of passenger processing and how the embrace of robotics technology by airports in Africa would help to give customers further experience of speed, efficiency and excellence. The use of technology to drive efficiency has been part of FAAN’s priority agenda under the present dispensation.

    Making his input on the first day of the conference, the Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, emphasised the need for removal of visa restrictions to enable free movement of people and goods across the continent, stating that to achieve this, there is need to work with Foreign Affairs Ministers across Africa.

    The Minister equally made a case for adequate funding of air transport in Africa.

    Also speaking at the event, IATA,s Regional Vice President, Africa & Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi called for pursuit of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which constitutes part of FAAN’s recent programmes.

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    Ekiti is safe for tourists’ traffic-Ojo-Lanre



    Ekiti is safe for tourists’ traffic-Ojo-Lanre

    Following the Ekiti State renewed effort to attract tourist’s influx to the numerous wonder sites scattered around the state and especially the flag destination, Ikogosi Warm and Cold Springs Resort, the Director-General of Ekiti State Bureau of Tourism Development, Ambassador Wale Ojo-Lanre, has said that the state is safe with the level of security architecture put in by the government.

    Ojo-Lanre disclosed this to tourism writers, on ground to see the new face of Ikogosi Warm and Cold Spring Resort and noted that Ikogosi, which is the new pride of the state, is perfectly safe and welcoming to tourists.

    Clearing the air on anxieties of insecurity in the state, Ojo-Lanre said the recounted bouts happened on the suburbs of Ekiti, maintaining that the tourism zones like Ikogosi community and its environ are safe.

    He said there were cautious efforts by the state government to secure tourists. “I don’t want to expose our security strategy, but I can tell you that we are the only state that has a homeland security as a parastatal under my agency. We know what is going on. When the road is not safe, tourism is in danger,” he stated.

    Meanwhile the Ekiti State government is fine-tuning plans to develop a tourism master plan, a working blueprint to practically explore and develop products and services to create and drive the economy of the state.

    Ojo-Lanre explained that for any serious state to enhance its tourism potentialities to the expected capacity, it must first develop a tourism master plan.

    “A tourism development master plan is a necessity for any state that wants to develop and the state governor, Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, emphasised that the first thing we have to do is to develop a tourism master plan for Ekiti and we started.

    “We have started drafting our tourism policy and we have identified the consultants to work on our tourism master plan. It would be delivered between August and October this year,” Ojo-Lanre added.

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    Eliminate insurgents at Kainji Park



    Eliminate insurgents at Kainji Park

    KAINJI National Park, an expansive natural reserve in Niger State covering an area of about 5,341 square kilometres, and known for its biodiversity and rich cultural heritage, has unfortunately garnered attention for a much more sinister reason. A recent report revealed that the park has become a haven for terrorists. This alarming development calls for urgent and decisive action to reclaim the park and ensure the safety of the wildlife and the surrounding communities.

    The Clingendael Institute, a Dutch think-tank, in a new report, said there is ample evidence Islamic terrorists from the Sahel have crossed into Nigeria through the Benin Republic border. The jihadis believed to be of the ISWAP sect, were said to have settled in Kebbi State and the KNP, turning the facility into their base.

    In reaction, the Director, Defence Media Operations, Edward Buba said the military was conducting operations in terrorist enclaves in the North-Central, which includes the KNP. A targeted military assault to root out the terrorists should not be delayed.

    The presence of terrorists in Kainji is a stark reminder of the broader security challenges that Nigeria faces. These groups exploit the remote and dense forest areas as strategic hideouts, using the park as a base for planning and executing attacks.

    The insurgents are engaged in poaching, logging, and mining, weakening the park’s protection, and further endangering the flora and fauna. The local communities have deserted their homes for IDP camps while several kidnapped persons are being held captive by the criminals.

    The park, part of Nigeria’s first and largest protected area, is home to wildlife, including elephants, lions, and numerous bird species. The park encompasses Kainji Lake, a critical resource. The terrorists’ invasion poses significant national security implications for Nigeria.

    Kainji Dam, which plays a crucial role in Nigeria’s hydroelectric power generation and irrigation systems, is located near the KNP. The dam’s presence within the park means that any security threats to the park, such as terrorist occupation, directly impact the safety and functionality of this critical infrastructure.

    Any attack on the dam or other facilities could disrupt electricity generation, affecting millions of Nigerians and causing significant economic and social upheaval.

    The seizure of the park by the insurgents has severe humanitarian implications. Local communities, who depend on the park for their livelihoods through fishing, farming, and tourism, live in fear. The terrorists’ activities disrupt economic activities, displace families, and create an environment of instability.

    Nigeria has suffered huge losses to Boko Haram and ISWAP rebels since 2009 when the militants started fighting the state. Human losses and displacements, especially in the North-East epicentre, are horrendous.

    To reclaim the park from the insurgents, an immediate and well-coordinated military action is essential. This intervention should be precise to avoid collateral damage to the park’s ecosystem and local communities. Empowering local security forces with training and resources can help maintain security once the initial military operations are completed. Establishing a permanent security presence in and around the park will prevent the terrorists from reoccupying it.

    Leveraging international support and expertise in counterterrorism and conservation can enhance Nigeria’s efforts. Partnerships with global conservation organisations can also help restore and protect the park’s biodiversity post-conflict. Implementing advanced monitoring and surveillance technologies, such as drones and satellite imagery, can provide real-time information on illegal activities and movement within the park, enabling quicker and more effective responses.

    Restoring the park to its rightful status as a sanctuary for wildlife and a resource for sustainable development is not only a national imperative but a global one. The world is watching, and President Bola Tinubu must rise to this challenge, demonstrating resilience and determination in adversity.

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