Succor for theatre practitioners in Lagos as Sanwo-Olu institute health insurance scheme
Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed the plan on October 10, during a dinner with veterans in the Yoruba section of the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood) at the Lagos House Marina.
The announcement elicited commendations from actors and actresses present at the event, as they appreciated the governor for deeming it necessary to take care of the health of the theatre practitioners, especially the veterans in the industry.
In recent times, theatre practitioners battling various health challenges and lacking funds have had to resort to the social media to beg Nigerians to come to their aid and foot their medical bills. Some are reported to be living in penury due to their inability to work in old age and health challenges.
According to Governor Sanwo-Olu, his administration would pay the insurance premium cover for the theatre practitioners, most of whom are aging. He stated that Nigerian movie industry and practitioners had played key roles in shaping the development of Lagos as a state.
He said, “We realise that your industry is one of the highest employers of labor. You have continued to provide succor and means of livelihoods to a lot of citizens quietly. More importantly, you give freshness to our lives through your stories.
“There is always a lesson and information to learn from the experiences you paint in your works. You fill in the creative space of our society and project good values about our culture, way of life and race.”
“It is interesting to see your industry grow, even without enough support. You are able to stand and build names around the industry.
“As a government, some of the interventions we have brought forward to assist your industry are not out of place; it is your right and entitlement which makes the Government to look back in assistance to further shape our society for greater good,” Sanwo-Olu added.
He continued, “To further enhance our intervention, we are going to initiate an insurance scheme to assist the Nollywood and give the practitioners free access to health care in public health facilities.
“This scheme will be specially categorized for professionals in the film business. This is yet another token of what the Government can offer those who have shaped our society.
“The insurance scheme would come in handy for practitioners who cannot afford medical expenses and prevent them from seeking assistance in an embarrassing manner.”
The governor said his administration would continue to contribute required resources to the entertainment and creative industry to make life easy for the practitioners, especially those in the theatre sphere. He also pledged to provide additional intervention funds for those in the English-speaking section of Nollywood.
Recalled that Sanwo-Olu, in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown, approved a N1 billion intervention fund for the film industry. The intervention was as a single-digit soft loan initiated to cushion the effect of the pandemic, among other incentives, for the creative and entertainment industry.
The fund has been accessed by many industry practitioners, who used the grant to fund for movie production. The additional support according to the governor, will boost the creativity and innovation in the sector.
He commended actress Foluke Daramola-Salako, who operates a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Passion Against Rape and Abuse in Africa, which is seeing to the wellbeing of veterans in the industry.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration would continue to reach out to the movie legends through the platform.
“This is a new beginning of the journey that will further strengthen Nollywood; we are going to be interacting more with every layer in the industry and provide opportunities where necessary.
“We want to be a partner in bringing this noble industry out for more growth and celebrate the industry veterans while they are alive,” he said.
Earlier in their remarks, some of the veterans at the event, such as Adebayo Salami, a.k.a Oga Bello; Prince Jide Kosoko, Adewale Elesho, Idowu Phillips, a.k.a Iya Rainbow and Mahmoud Alli-Balogun, commended the governor for carrying out people-oriented programs and projects which according to them are people-oriented and qualify him for a second term in office.
The theatre practitioners during the event unanimously endorsed Sanwo-Olu for a second term and promised to work for his victory in the 2023 governorship election.
They also expressed their support for the candidature of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who, according to them, has done a lot for theatre practitioners.
The dinner was well attended by over 100 theatre practitioners that include actors and actresses, directors, producers and marketers, among which are Tade Ogidan, Lere Paimo (Eda onile-ola), Fausat Balogun, Iyabo Ogunsola, Yomi Fash-Lanso, Charles Olumo (Agbako), Saidi Balogun, Toyin Adegbola (Toyin Tomato), Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo), Damola Olatunji, Bimbo Akintola and Eniola Badmus (Gbogbo Bees Geez), among others.