– Says Film Misrepresented Lagos Culture, Portrays Eyo Masquerade, As Gun-wielding Villain
‘Gangs of Lagos’, a new Nollywood film that started streaming on Prime Video on April 7, 2023 has been axed by the Lagos State Government.
The Jade Osiberu film pictures the lives of three friends, who grow up in a crime-ridden Isale Eko, Lagos, and drawn into gang life.
Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, in a statement on Wednesday, April 12, condemned the film for misrepresenting the Lagos culture.
She further rebuked the producers for portraying the revered Eyo masquerade, as a gun-wielding villain.
“We are of the opinion that the production of the film ‘Gangs of Lagos’ is very unprofessional and misleading while its content is derogatory of our culture, with the intention to desecrate the revered heritage of the people of Lagos.
“It is an unjust profiling of a people and culture, as being barbaric and nefarious. It depicts a gang of murderers rampaging across the state.”
The government reaction came hours after the Isale Eko Descendants’ Union, IDU, similarly expressed dissatisfaction over the portrayal of the Eyo masquerade.
Eyo masquerade performs during festivals and other important events, and is believed to represent the spirits of the ancestors.
The IDU had also lodged a complaint with the National Film and Video Censors Board, NFVCB, demanding the withdrawal of the approval granted to the film.
The cultural group equally demanded that the film be withdrawn from all viewing channels.
“The IDU and other community stakeholders will also be considering legal action for the damage done to the culture, tradition and image of the Isale Eko community and the Eyo masquerade,” the group said.
Gangs of Lagos is the first African Original for Prime Video and part of Osiberu’s 3-year overall deal with the streaming platform.