As KAI seals Idumota shops: Film marketers may lose N100 million

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Film marketers at Idumota market, Lagos, are beginning to count their loses in millions over the closure of the market by officials of the Lagos State Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) brigade last Thursday. As at Friday, the market remained shut with government officials waiting for leaders of the film marketers at State House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. The closure is likely to linger till Monday or Tuesday since Alausa was yet to receive a delegation of the marketers as at Friday afternoon. This means that all films that were to be released yesterday would remain on hold and probably pitch some marketers against their creditors. When Daily Independent visited on Thursday, Mr. Olusegun Afolabi, chairman, Association of Film and Video Producers and Marketers of Nigeria (AFVPMAN), was not available. He was said to have travelled to Abuja for the stakeholders' conference on film distribution. However, Mr. Ayola Sanusi, of Sanusi Production, who was around when KAI officials shut the shops, said they came in company of a video camera with which they photographed the gutter in front of Bonag, prominent wholesale outlet of films in the market. “The gutter was very clean. I went into the market myself and everything was very clean. They accused people selling electronics outside, but I don't know why they should go into the market and start locking up the whole shops,” he said bitterly.

Chairman, Yoruba Films Forum, Mr. Akim Olatunde Balogun, was equally baffled by the development. He told Daily Independent that the shops were locked up because members of the KAI brigade felt the environment was dirty, “which I believe is not true”. He stated that film marketers, as a matter of principle, clean up the environment every evening, adding that there is no cogent reason for locking up the shops. “We are going to lose up to N20 million because it involves every section of the entertainment industry, those selling video, audio and CDs,” he disclosed. By his estimate, the marketers would lose up to N100 million if the shops remain locked by today (Tuesday).

He said that officials of the union would visit Alausa to demand explanations before knowing what step to take.

Another film marketer, who preferred anonymity, described the situation as very shameless. “We have a shameless government in Lagos State. People just come in and bombard the market without any information for personal and selfish reasons.” He is sure the film sellers would lose up toN10 to N15 million between the trading hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. “But since they have locked the shops a lot of people would go home without achieving their aims,” he fumed.

Adeleke Badmus, an ex-officio member of the association, equally echoed the views of others, adding that the development could affect films scheduled for release on Monday (yesterday). The marketers release at least 15 films weekly into the market. Principal Public Relations Officer in the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Shina Thorpe, told Daily Independent that the shops were locked up because the environment was dirty. He supported his claim with about 20 snapshot photographs taken at the scene with film jackets and posters littering the environment. According to him, the state government has been warning the marketers to desist from exhibiting dirty habits. He explained that those doing business must ensure that it is part of their responsibility to keep their environments clean. “A lot of warnings were given to them that were not heeded,” he said. “Now, they are maintaining a dirty environment and they are not patronising a recognised and registered Private Sector Participation (PSP) operator. So, we asked them, “You say you do your sanitation, how do you dispose your refuse. I want you to visit Savage Lane, every two weeks the state government clears that mountainous heap of refuse. We build refuse houses across the Island. People are not using these facilities. They have refused to patronise the PSP operator. You now give the refuse to cart pushers who dump it in the lagoon and on Savage Lane. The state government still have to use money to clear the refuse there because it is a market, hence members of the KAI brigade have to question them and also seal the place.”

To reverse the situation, the state government is demanding that the film marketers must furnish evidence of patronising a registered PSP operator and evidence of good sanitary habit. The image-maker added that the government would no longer condone the dumping of refuse anywhere and anyhow. “Refuse must be dumped at the proper dump sites,” he said.

Where the marketers default, he said, they would have no choice but pay the statutory fine. Thorpe told Daily Independent on Friday that the government was expecting the leaders of the marketers to come forward for discussion. “They would have to give an undertaken that the place would be kept clean,” he said, while describing the environment as very appalling each time he passes through the place on Sunday, adding that the government spends so much money yearly to rehabilitate the road whereas people refuse to clear the drains. “People just dump whatever they have on the roads – cartons, nylons – are dumped on the roads and when the rain comes those that did not end up in the drains would be trampled upon and very soon the roads would go bad again,” said Thorpe, as he stated that members of KAI brigade would move into specific markets to enforce the weekly Thursday sanitation exercise in markets within the Lagos metropolis. “If we find those in any of the markets very recalcitrant, that market will be shut,” he emphasised.