11th July, 2011
Leadership of the Directorsâ€™ Guild of Nigeria(DGN), has refused to comment or disclose the role it is going to play concerning the fate of one of its members, Ifeanyi Chukwu Onyeabor, who was remanded in Kirikiri Prisons on Tuesday last week by an Ikeja Federal High Court.
The National President of association, Bond Emeruwa, told NollywoodReel in a telephone chat that it would not be proper to disclose the guildâ€™s plans on the issue on the pages of newspapers for now.
â€œThis is obviously not an issue I can discuss on phone, but maybe after Monday (today), we will be able to make our position known,â€ Emeruwa said.
Meanwhile, sources in the guild disclosed to NollywoodReel that members are very skeptical about their involvement on the issue, considering the fact that they knew little or nothing about the issue from the outset.
According to the source, â€œthe preview of Tribes, one of the films that caused the controversy, was shown to the authorities of DGN, but what about the second one? So they were not really convinced that Onyeabor had not made some silly mistakes.â€
Onyeabor, who was arrested and detained by men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) penultimate Tuesday has been remanded in prison for alleged stealing.
The Igo Motion Pictures International boss is facing a seven-count charge reported to the anti-graft commission by his business partner operating under the auspices of Steve-James Nigeria Limited.
Onyeabor was accused of squandering millions of naira entrusted in him by his business partner to produce two movies entitled Young Amazons and Tribes.
The court, in a charge sheet made available to NollywoodReel, stated that the offence committed by the Nollywood director was contrary to Section 390(9) of the Criminal Code Law Cap C17 Vol. 2 Laws of the Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.
The charge sheet further explained how the money in question exchanged hands between the movie guru and his business partner, who was said to be a serving Customs officer.
â€œIfeanyi Onyeabor on or about 12 December, 2009 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division with the intent to defraud, stole and fraudulently converted the sum of N1,850,000, property of Steve-James Limited entrusted to you for the production of two movies entitled Young Amazons and Tribes,â€ the charge sheet read.
The other charges also explained how on different occasions, Onyeabor received the sums of N1,200,000, N950,000, N3,000,000, N1,200,000, N500,000 and N100,000 from his partner for the movie project.
NollywoodReel gathered that the hitherto sweet relationship between Onyeabor and his partner became sour when the movie could not be completed as at the agreed time.
According to Natty Bruce, one of the assistant directors of the flick which was shot in Ghana, Onyeaborâ€™s intention was to shoot a world class movie and that was why he decided to do the right things by not rushing the production.
He also blamed the directorâ€™s partner for the delay in the job because, according to him, â€œat a time he stopped paying and Onyeabor needed to source for funds elsewhere just to make sure that the production continued. The truth of the matter is that if you want to achieve what Onyeabor intends to achieve with this film, there is no way it wonâ€™t take a long time.â€
Meanwhile, counsel to the accused person, Kingsley Audu, said he is surprised about the whole thing because the EFCC has searched his clientâ€™s house and did not find any incriminating document there.
â€œThey even confisticated his laptop, which he needed for post-production of the movies. So, in a way, I will say this has also contributed to the delay of the work,â€ the lawyer said.