When the news of the Minister of Information, Culture And Tourism, Lai Mohammed, stating that government is seeking to build a hundred community cinemas across the six geopolitical zones, the film industry is jolted and could not believe the statement thinking it was too good to be true.
When LEADERSHIP e-Rendezvous sought to know how feasible was the project and other modalities from Mohammed in January, he noted that government was looking to wooing foreign investors who would invest 100,000 dollars each to build a community cinemas and the state government would only have to provide land for the edifice.
That was lofty and laudable coming from the minister as it meant that it would be private-public partnership or outright private business.
All over the world using the German or the UK models, community cinemas are sited closer to the people.
An investor who does not want his name mentioned noted that the port city Liverpool which has a population of five million the size of just Somolu-Bariga environ, Lagos has a total of 20 cinemas, both CC (community cinemas )and mall-structured standard cinemas that could sit 200 people.
Nigeria can only boast of what Liverpool has as there are just about 20 standard cinemas scattered around different cities: Lagos (8), Port Harcourt (4), Warri (1), Benin (1), Abuja (2) , Kano (1), Ibadan (2), Akure (1) Owerri (1) and Enugu (1).
Building a community cinema in addition to these will boost return on investment on each production work. But many stakeholders in the film industry are wary of government involvement to build C.C or run the cinemas as government has no business running a community cinema but creating an enabling environment and encouraging both local and foreign investors to invest in Nollywood via infrastructure development and establishing robust distribution company networks.
Our correspondent’s effort to seek more clarification on the modalities and level of development on the investors to partner government in the C.C building, proved abortive as the minister’s aide promised to update on the proposed 100 C.C.
A reputable film maker, Wale Adenuga, in an earlier interview noted that by now there ought to be pockets of community cinemas in Lagos alone as an average resident of Ikotun-Egbe would not travel to Lekki to watch a movie because it is not economically wise when he can rent a Yoruba movie from his local vendor and equally enjoy himself. So when would Nigerians see the 100 cinemas promised by the minister? Time shall tell.