Okafor’s Law: Oboli ought to have acted faster, says Nollywood producer

Movie “Okafor’s Law” is my intellectual work, says Nollywood producer, Omoni Oboli

A film producer, Chima Okereke, has blamed Omoni Oboli for allowing her accuser to procure a court order to stop the premiere of Okafor’s Law last Friday.

Okereke said Oboli was careless.

He told our reporter in Lagos that the copyright infringement case slammed on Oboli by Jude Idada, a script writer would not have arisen if Oboli had taken steps to address the issue.

She did nothing, claimed Okereke only to be embarrassed by Idada’s court order. Oboli was thinking more like an actress than a film producer or a business person, Okereke added.

Idada a Canadian based–Nigerian script writer accused Oboli, a film producer of copyright infringement to produce the movie titled: “Okafor’s Law’’.

The drama began in September 2016. Oboli stoutly defended her ownership of the script, stating that she owned and wrote it 100 per cent.

When the parties could not reach an agreement, Idadi sought the help of the court.

Oboli, Dioni Visions and Filmone Distribution are named the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants in the case filed by Idada.

He got an injunction to stop the release of the film , scheduled to hit the cinemas on 31 March.

Oboli was served the court injunction at the Filmhouse IMAX, Lekki, venue of the film’s premiere on March 25. Lekki. Guests were already seated, after the cocktail preceding the screening of the movie.

She was forced to obey the court injunction by cancelling the premiere as she stood the risk of being charged with contempt if she had gone ahead with the premiere.

Okereke said that, “there were options she ought to have followed; options that would have been beneficial to both parties. Some people could have been called upon to intervene on the matter.

“Every profession has its risks, especially a rapidly growing one like Nollywood. And this is one of them. It is a mark of Nollywood growth.

“There will always be room for compromise, no matter how little,’’ he said.

The Movie Director said that Nollywood has gone beyond me against you; “it is about collective responsibility, which links each other in business concerns and connects everyone.

“Those bringing sentiments must understand that intellectual property issues are not just something you wish away.

“Idada must have provided “evidence’’, a simple sign of breach of rights for an injunction to be given to him to protect him. This is protection of rights of every citizen.

“Oboli ought to be in court to fight it. She has to counter the evidence provided by Idada.

“It is going to be messy as it was when this issue was raised. Now they are going to spend money engaging lawyers but Oboli will be the worst hit,’’ he said.

Okereke said it would have been a forgotten issue if the case was nipped in the bud through their association, but Oboli called Idada’s bluff and went ahead to shoot the controversial film.

“There are procedures in handling this kind of case and both sides, especially Oboli, missed the point. It is now fight to finish and that is not good for a producer,’’ he said.

“Nollywood is a big beneficiary of this case; writers now see what they can do when their intellectual property rights are breached.

“Producers now understand the implication of minor mistakes; distributors will now be more circumspect of controversially produced films.

He advised Oboli to weigh her options now and in future and take a decision fast.

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