By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Abuja – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has enjoined the Indian Government to support Nigeria’s film industry with the technology that will enhance the quality of films produced in the country.
The Minister made the call in Abuja on Friday when he received the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur, on a courtesy visit to his office.
“I think Bollywood is probably the biggest film industry in the world, closely followed by Nigeria.
“While we are proud of what Nollywood is doing in terms of content, I think we still need to do more in the area of technicality and technology.
“I think this is one area that I would want us to concentrate on in our bilateral relationship,” he said.
The minister also urged India to extend its support to the area of capacity building for lecturers at the film institute in Jos.
He said it would enable the lecturers acquire the requisite and relevant knowledge, which will be imparted to the film makers.
“I want India to avail Nigeria the opportunity to train not just our budding producers and film directors, cinematographers and the like, also the Film Corporation, especially the Film College in Jos, so that they can be able to improve the technical quality of our films.
“I still believe that in the area of content, we have very rich content, very fecund imagination but I think in terms of the quality of the films, we still need to do much more.
“I do not think there is a better place we can look forward to than India for this,” he said.
The Minister said in spite of the huge population of India, it still shares some similarities with Nigeria, particularly in the plurality of culture and religion.
He sought the assistance of India in the area of capacity building for Nigeria’s cultural officers, as well as the provision of scholarships for Nigerians in culture-related fields.
In his remarks, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Thakur, said that the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organising Journalists Exposure Visits for a select group of Nigerian journalists to expose them to specific, Africa-focused business events in India.
He also extended an invitation to Nigerian cultural troupes to participate in the India-Africa Cultural Festival, which is coming up in December, as a platform to showcase the cultural endowment of the country.
The High Commissioner said that the programme would further deepen the ties between the two countries.
He said his country is enjoying a long standing relationship with Nigeria, especially in the areas of trade, film, media and culture.
The envoy also disclosed that India is also organising special events in the area of Performing Arts, music and painting.
He said over 50,000 Indians are currently residing in Nigeria, which he described as India’s biggest trading partner in Africa.