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  • Updated: January 13, 2021

Oloture: 'Movie Producers Free To Produce My Prison Story' - Soyombo

Oloture: 'Movie Producers Free To Produce My Prison Story' -

Investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo has said that he would have 'absolutely no problem' with moviemakers producing his much-celebrated prison undercover work.

Soyombo stated this in an exclusive chat with AllNews on Tuesday, amid the controversy that has trailed the production of 'Oloture'.

According to Soyombo, "more people need to know the truth about what is happening in Nigerian prisons".

He added that if movie producers contacted him from the start of their project, it wouldn't be a problem.

'Oloture' is the story of a young, naive Nigerian journalist who goes undercover to expose the shady underworld of human trafficking.

The film has caused a rift between Tobore Ovuorie, a former investigative journalist with Premium Times, and Mo Abudu, a media mogul.

Ovuorie had accused Abudu of copyright infringement concerning ‘Oloture’, her 2020 movie.

"It would absolutely be no problem [for me], actually," Soyombo told AllNews.

"If they reached out from scratch, it wouldn't be a problem one bit, even without 5% of the profit derived from the theatrical run.

"More people need to know the truth about what's happening in prisons and if someday some movie producer wants to take up that challenge, I'm only one phone call/message away."

Soyombo in 2019 spent two weeks in detention — five days in a Police cell and eight in Ikoyi Prison — to track corruption in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.

To experience the system in its raw state, Soyombo — adopting the pseudonym Ojo Olajumoke — feigned an offence for which he was arrested and detained in police custody, arraigned in court and eventually remanded in prison.

While at the police station, the Police added fake charges.

In prison, he was physically tortured after a hidden recording device was found on him, but he refused to disclose he was a journalist.

With his cover already blown, on the day he was released from prison, it was into the waiting hands of policemen, who abducted him, thus truncating the joy of finally tasting freedom after two weeks.

Soyombo observed firsthand the bribery, corruption, and injustice that have defined the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.

Mo Abudu vs Tobore Ovuorie

Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife Films, had kicked against the N2.5 billion allegedly demanded by Ovuorie, who accused her of intellectual property theft concerning ‘Oloture’, her 2020 movie. 

Ovuorie had claimed that Abudu’s film adapted 75 percent of her 2014 undercover investigation on sex trafficking.

She also alleged that it was done without her express permission.

Abudu, however, debunked the allegations in a 10-minute video shared on her verified Instagram page on Tuesday.

The 56-year-old said Tobore’s lawyers sent a letter to her a month after the film was released on Netflix demanding N2.5 billion in compensation.

Abudu also said she had earlier reached out to the publishers of Premium Times, Tobore’s employers as of when the story was filed and obtained a go-ahead to make the film while promising the reporter a cut from its theatre run.

READ ALSO: Netflix, Mo Abudu Sign Deal To Produce Prof. Wole Soyinka, Lola Shoneyin Books

“Tobore wrote the article titled ‘Inside Nigeria’s Ruthless Human Trafficking Mafia’, which was published on August 12 2014 by the Premium Times, her employer at the time. Premium Times Services Limited, the publisher of Premium Times, has disclosed that she can’t lay claim to the investigative report that belongs to them,” Abudu said.

“According to the Premium Times editor-in-chief, only the media company and their partner on that project, Zam Chronicles, can lay claim to the copyright of that report based on Nigeria’s copyright law.

"We sought and obtained the rights from Premium Times, the owners of the story. As such, we fulfilled our legal obligations."

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