The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) and the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) are collaborating to engage the Nigerian movie industry to correct the story of incorrect perspectives about the Nigerian military through movies.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, disclosed this at an interactive meeting between stakeholders in the Nigerian Film Industry and Defence Department of Civil Military Cooperation, on Thursday in Abuja.
Olonisakin, who was represented by the Defence Chief of Civil-Military Cooperation, Rear Adm. O.H Ngalabak, said that the relationship between the defence and Nigerian film industry started about 40 years.
He said that DHQ realised that there was a need to change the narratives about the story of the Nigerian military being told in Nigerian movies.
Olonisakin said that the experience of the American military during their operation in Somalia, made them to collaborate with Hollywood to retell their story.
He said that there was a need for the military to have the kind of collaboration which exists between the American army and Hollywood.
“You always here that somebody was being killed in Maiduguri or that a soldier died but we need to pass the explanation across.
“It is the film makers that can do that and that is the reason for the collaboration,” he said.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr Chidia Maduekwe, said the objective of the meeting was to put in place necessary procedures to project the armed forces in proper perspective through filmmakers.
Maduekwe said that the DHQ was as concerned as many Nigerians on the occasional appearances and portrayal of its personnel in some Nigerian films.
He said that such images sometimes tend to fall short of national aspirations of many proud Nigerians.
“We are indeed a great nation that has contributed so much to internal, regional, global peace and security.
“As such our armed forces are continuously paying the supreme sacrifice to maintain the sovereignty of this country.
“They certainly deserve our support and encouragement in all ramifications particularly on global viewing screens.
“Presently, there are many exploits by our armed men that such stories can easily be produced as epic movies under effective supervision of our globally acclaimed Nigerian filmmakers,” he said.
Maduekwe also disclosed that the DHQ was prepared to partner with the film industry, through NFC to produce world standard films that would be good for both local and global consumption.
He added that military hardware and software, and the needed funding required for such feature films, would henceforth be made available for such collaboration.
He said individuals wishing to produce independent and private films shall be free to seek the needed assistance from DHQ for guidance and training on how best to portray the military in Nigerian film.
“NFC is very optimistic that outcome of this interactive meeting will definitely provide the fulcrum on how best to portray our nation’s armed forces personnel in our films,” he said.
A participant, Desmond Ekeh, who is a Lecturer at the Nigerian Television (NTA) College, Jos, said that most filmmakers in Nigeria in the past do not usually make movies based on research.
Ekeh said that while they make their films based on their thinking and feelings, others sometimes did from their personal experience or what they see.
“We see American military as number one not because there are no ills in their military but because that is what they portray.
“So if we are able to portray this in the right light with the Nigerian military, we are going to earn respect for our military and as well as the citizens,” he said.