Nigerian film-maker Dickson Iroegbu has come under fire in the past few days after he posted a comment on Facebook saying that if anything happened to controversial Briafran leader Nnamdi Kanu – currently detained by the state security service (DSS) in Abuja – Nigeria “will burn”.
Iroegbu spoke to IBTimes UK to clarify his position, stating that he does not support the Biafran cause – which calls for indepndence from Nigeria – but he believes in freedom of speech and dialogue with the Nigerian government.
Who is Dickson Iroegbu?
Iroegbu is a prominent film-maker and director in Nollywood – Nigeria’s booming film industry coined after Hollywood. He has written, produced and directed more than 20 movies, including Burning Desire, Kill The Bride, Tears In The Rain, Days Of Glory and gay-themed Law 58.
In 2005, he won three awards (Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director) for the movie, The Mayors, at the African Movie Academy Awards.
Iroegbu was born in Imo state and he currently lives in Lagos. He describes himself as “a dynamic and ambitious professional filmmaker and poet and an avid supporter of arts and culture in Nigeria”.
Iroegbu aims to use his art to create a positive image of Nigeria and shed light on under-reported issues. He told IBTimes UK he was currently working on a movie that will highlight the problem of child soldiers in Nigeria and other African countries.
Iroegbu is also the author of Save Our Plateau, a project that aims to initiate peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in Nigeria’s Plateau state.
Iroegbu said during an interview that he did not start his career as a director, but as a scriptwriter. He later decided to become a director after being inspired by renowned directors like Andy Amenechi and Ndubisi Okoh.
Iroegbu is often described as the ‘controversial Nollywood film-maker’. Once believed to be homosexual, he caused outrage when he publicly announced his support for anti-gay lawsimplemented in Nigeria in 2014. The Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition)law criminalises homosexuality and stipulates up to 14 years jail for Nigerians involved in a gay marriage or civil union. The bill was signed into law by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.
During Jonathan’s government, Iroegbu worked for the presidency as an executive assistant for creative entertainment and tourism. He has three children – two boys and a girl – and he met his wife at the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board.