Information reaching Hi Newspaper from our source at the local copyright office in Ghana says a Nigerian movie has found itself sold to two different Ghanaian producers by two Nigerians- the movie's director, Ifeanyi Onyeagbor and the Executive Producer, Mr. Ikenna Anumba, C.E.O of Lisbon Motion Pictures Nig. Ltd.
This, according to our source, has created problems with the release of the movie in its original title onto the Ghanaian market.
Ifeanyi Onyeagbor is the director of the following popular Nigerian movies- My Mother's Heart, Love Birds, Guardian Angel and End of the Game.
Our information is that, Ifeanyi Onyeagbor sold the movie he directed for Ikenna Anumba originally titled Fulani (an AMAA Awards nominated) to the Ghanaian producer/actor, Ruffy Samuel, ceo of Young Father Production without the consent of Mr. Anumba, the copyright owner of the movie.
Young Father immediately registered the movie, our source says. But unknown to Young Father, according to our source, Mr. Ikenna Anumba, recently sold the same movie to another Ghanaian producer, Mr. Ahmed Banda, ceo of Bandex, who paid $2,000, making him the right owner in Ghana.
Bandex found out about the double sale when he went to register the movie at the copyright offices last month. He then reported the issue to Mr. Ikenna Anumba.
Around mid November, Mr. Banda confronted the director who admitted selling the movie to Young Father. “But efforts to get the director to refund the money he collected from the Young Father have proved futile since last month”, says Bandex.
Meanwhile, Mr. Banda has been asked to present the document of purchase to the Copyright Office to validate his registration.
Speaking to Hi Newspaper, Bandex said the issue could have ended up in courts but for the intervention of some top Nigerian movie people who pleaded with him not to pursue it further.
At press time, Mr. Banda said: “Ifeanyi Onyeagbor has refused to release the master copy of the movie to me. He called and apologized and promised to give me the master copy which has higher picture quality, but has yet to do so”. He said
“I had to changed the title of the movie to protect my investment but it is still not safe until I have the master copy”, he said
Speaking on phone from Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria, Mr. Ikenna Anumba told Hi Newspaper that he gave the master copy of Fulani to Ifeanyi Onyeagbor. “It was my first major production and I didn't know the industry outside Nigeria. Ifeanyi Onyeagbor offered to help me so I gave him the master copy. An actress in the movie introduced me to Bandex, who according to her showed interest in the movie after seeing the trailer. I met with Mr. Banda and payment and other necessary paperwork were done”, he said.
“Bandex is the rightful owner of the movie”, the Executive Producer confirmed to Hi Newspaper. Documents to this effect have been sent to Hi.
When Hi Newspaper spoke to Mr. Ifeanyi Onyeagbor on Monday, December 6, he said: “There was nothing fraudulent about what I did. I decided to sell the movie right to Young Father hence the preview copy I gave him. He didn't pay me and went ahead to register the movie with the copyright office. We have since solved everything and there is no cause for alarm.”
Due to the developments, Bandex has decided to release the movie in Ghana under a different title. The movie was released in Nigerian market with the title “Fulani”. In Ghana, it will be released as “Princess Sahara” to avoid further copyright controversies. The 2010 AMAA Award nominated movie is a story set in an Hausa community of Nigeria. It stars Rita Dominic, Oge Okoye, Vivian Achor, Daniel Adeboye and Peter Bruno.