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2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
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Entertainment

Gangs of Lagos:  It’s a mockery of our heritage, says LASG, as Indigenes petition NFVCB over defamation of communities in movie

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Lagos State Government has expressed displeasure with the promoters of the “Gangs of Lagos” film/series over what it described as “cultural misrepresentation” as well as portraying the culture of the state in a derogatory manner.

In a reaction by the state government, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf said the Ministry, being the regulatory body and custodian of the culture of Lagos State, viewed the film/series as a mockery of the Heritage of Lagos.

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Earlier, Prince Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu, the Apesinọla Ẹyọ Ọba Alakẹtẹ Pupa Ọkalaba Ẹkun, a cultural group, had condemned the film, calling for an immediate withdrawal.

Shodipe-Dosunmu described the film as “ethnic profiling, sacrilegious and outrageous trash.”

Meanwhile, the commissioner expressed her disappointment with the promoters of the film, Jade Osiberu and Kemi Akindoju, for portraying the Eyo Masquerade as a gun-wielding villain while adorning the full traditional regalia.

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Instructively, the Eyo Festival is rarely observed and only comes up as a traditional rite of passage for Obas, revered Chiefs and eminent Lagos Indigenes while the Eyo Madquerade is used as a symbol of honour for such personalities and remarkable historical events.

According to Akinbile-Yussuf, “We are of the opinion that the production of the film ‘The Gang 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 state government maintained that “the Adamu Orisha, popularly known as the Eyo Festival, is rarely observed and only comes up as a traditional rite of passage for Obas, revered Chiefs and eminent Lagosians.”

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Akinbile-Yussuf, stressed that “the Eyo Masquerade is equally used as a symbol of honour for remarkable historical events.

“It signifies a sweeping renewal, a purification ritual to usher in a new beginning, a beckoning of new light, acknowledging the blessings of the ancestors of Lagosians.”

In an earlier reaction via a statement, Shodipe-Dosunmu, described the film as reckless, disgusting distortion of the sacred illustration of Lagos culture.

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According to him, “There is a film presently being promoted by one Jade Osiberu and another character called Kemi Akindoju. The so called movie is an ugly, hate filled mockery of the Lagosian heritage.

“In their reckless, disgusting distortion of the sacred illustration of the Lagosian culture the film makers reduced the Eyo masquerade into a gun toting killing machine, clothing their misfit actors in the full regalia of the Eyo and with the Aga depicting some Conclaves.

“This is a total abomination. It is not only a distortion of our culture, it is a dark insidious profiling of our people as criminals and murderers rampaging across Lagos.

“The Adamu Orisha is a treasured cleansing ritual, a sacred rite performed on the passage of an Oba or for their coronation.

“It is also used to honor distinguished Lagosians as their final rite of transition.

“Since Ejilu and Malakin, the brothers of Olori Olugbani first initiated the Eyo rite in celebration of Oba Ado Keme, the Adamu Orisha has become a sacred ancestral heritage celebrated with awe and deserving adoration.

“It signifies a sweeping renewal, a purificational ritual to usher in a new beginning, a beckoning of new light, acknowledging the blessings of our ancestors.

“To use the sacred Adamu Orisha Masquerade as an object of terror and loose criminality is to savage and despoil the Lagosian tradition.

“It is vile, evil, perverse; an utterly sadistic mangling of who we are as peace loving, accommodating and enlightened people.

“We demand an immediate withdrawal of this sacrilegious and outrageous trash.

“We demand that the National Film and Video Censors Board and all appropriate authorities to ban this blatant mockery disguising as cinematography and impose the most punitive sanctions on the sponsors of this venomous ethnic profiling.

“We also appeal to the Lagos State Government, the Oba of Lagos Alayeluwa Oba Rilwan Akinolu, all the custodians of our tradition including the Alaworo of Adamu Orisha and Akinsiku Chief Ademola Dosunmu to rouse up in protective defense of our tradition against the ravages of these agents of condemnable pollution of all that we cherish in this sacred soil of Oba Ado Keme.

“Ethnic profiling is recognized as a crime against humanity by the International Court of Justice.

“This provision can also be invoked against these sacrilegious hate baiters.”

Gangs of Lagos: Indigenes petition NFVCB over defamation of Isale Eko, Eyo

Lagos indigenes under the aegis of the Isale Eko Descendants’ Union (IDU) have petitioned the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) over alleged defamation of their community and Eyo masquerade in the Gangs of Lagos film.

In a statement signed by the Union’s Chairman, Mr Yomi Tokosi, Gangs of Lagos released on Amazon Prime Video on April 7, 2023, scandalously portrayed the Isale Eko community and Eyo in the bad light of platforms for criminal activities.

The union expressed displeasure that Isale Eko was painted as a crime hub in the film directed by Jadesola Osiberu, and co-produced by Kemi Akindoju, adding that it brought the indigenes into blatant shame.

The statement read, “The attention of the Isale Eko Descendants’ Union (IDU) has been drawn to the very disturbing violent images in a new movie directed by Jade Osiberu and Kemi Lala Akindoju, executive produced by Adesegun Adetoro, Demi Olubanwo, Olumide Soyombo, Bankole Wellington, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, and Kola Aina; and filmed by Greoh Studios, and released by Amazon’s Prime Video Nigeria called gangs of Lagos.”

IDU stated further, “In the movie, the unique Eyo masquerade indigenous to the Isale Eko community in Lagos was illegally and scandalously depicted as being used as a camouflage, decoy and subterfuge for murderers and gangsters operating in the Isale Eko area.”

The Union stressed that Eyo has been the exclusive cultural legacy of the indigenous Lagosians for close to 170 years, thus slamming Gangs of Lagos and its owners for viewing it in a “despicable and insensitive manner.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Eyo masquerade has been part of the unique cultural heritage of the Isale Eko community of Lagos since 1854 (169 years) and the Eyo is known as a masquerade for celebration in Lagos island and not an instrument of gangs of criminals as illegally and scandalously portrayed.

It said, “Most importantly, the movie has brought the Eyo masquerade and the people of Isale Eko into disrepute, who are now deemed criminally minded in the eyes of right-thinking members of the society.

“The Isale Eko descendants’ union is very disturbed that the culture and tradition of Isale Eko can be wantonly exploited in such a despicable and insensitive manner by Amazon Prime Video to the detriment of the Isale Eko community.

“The illegal and scandalous depiction of the Eyo masquerade in the movie is actionable and a petition has been lodged by the IDU with the National Film and Video Censors Board (NF&VCB) including other major stakeholders.

“The IDU has among other things requested that the NF&VCB withdraw the approval granted to the movie- Gangs of Lagos and direct the withdrawal of the movie from all viewing channels available to the public. 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.”

(Vanguard)


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