The Swiss government is funding a Nigerian television show in the hope of discouraging Nigerians from attempting to emigrate to Switzerland. The 13-episode series is being filmed by a Nigerian film crew in Switzerland with the alpine country picking up the $450,000 price tag, news agencies reported on Monday.
The series, called Missing Steps, is the idea of the Nigerian authorities and came out of a 2011 migration agreement between the two countries which saw Nigeria pledge to help citizens who want to voluntarily return to the African nation.
Speaking to Swiss broadcaster SRF on Monday, SEM spokesman Lukas Rieder said it wasn’t about dissuading Nigerians but giving them objective information.
“We have seen that a lack of information or false information is one of the main problems that leads to illegal migration,” he said. Using the Nigerian film industry – known as ‘Nollywood’ – is an effective way of reaching as many people as possible, he added.
However the plan hasn’t convinced the Swiss Refugee Council, which told the media that awareness campaigns like these were not enough by themselves. It would be better to treat the causes of migration, such as the human rights situation and economic issues, said a spokesman.
In 2009, the UN said Nollywood had surpassed Hollywood to become the second largest film producer behind India’s Bollywood. It produces some 2,000 films a year, most of them on a shoestring budget.
Its latest success is comedy The Wedding Party which has broken box office records in the country and was shown at international film festivals including Toronto.
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