By: Bisi Adekunle
The military thinks it is imperative to showcase their subtle war against the Boko Haram insulgents and in doing that there is need to go into partnership with Nollywood filmmakers on movies that will endear the military to the people. Overtime, the Nigerian Army enjoys references only in war-related and historical movies, unlike the Nigeria Police, whose activities are predominant in Nollywood movies.
Major General Rogers Ibe Nicholas, Chief of Civil/ Military Affairs, Nigerian Army Headquarters revealed that this is part of the new focus of the military under the leadership of Major General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Chief of Army Staff.
The army chief made this known at the unveiling of the movie, 76, set against the backdrop of war and nation building. The movie which stars Rita Dominic, Chidi Mokeme and Ramsey Nouah among others is an Adonis and Tonye Princewill production which was inspired by events around the botched 1976 coup d’etat.
Interestingly, Princewill who is the Executive Producer of the movie, disclosed that the execution of the movie was done with approval and support from the Nigerian Army. He revealed that the army made available the facilities at Mokola Barracks, Ibadan, where the movie was shot.
The Army Chief said, “With every regime come different concepts and ideas. So with the coming of Maj Gen T.Y Buratai as Chief of Army Staff, he has a vision which is to have a professionally responsive Nigerian army in discharge of its constitutional mandate. And part of that is to develop a military/ civil relationship that will close the gap between the military and the civilians. That is what we are trying to do. The issue of people not having channels to complain is now a thing of the past. Right now, we have a human rights desk in our office. We are collaborating with the National Human Rights Commission and the Nigerian Bar Association.”
“We welcome and encourage any filmmaker who wants to do a movie on the insurgency war as long as it is within the confines of the law. Interested participants can come up and we will look into it and collaborate.”
Asked about funding, the army chief said, “When we are collaborating with a filmmaker, it means that there is counterpart funding for it. This means that it is a two-way traffic, not that the Nigerian Army alone will fund such movies. If you come up with a proposal and you think that it will be beneficial to the Nigerian Army and indeed, Nigerians as a whole, then we will be ready to look into it.”
Adonis Productions is already considering the challenge thrown by the Nigerian military. Princewill who is also the patron of the Nigerian Association of Movie Producers expressed his willingness to go into partnership with the Nigerian military.