…Late actor may be buried in April
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has said the National Assembly will look into the laws guiding intellectual property in Nigeria, noting that the present laws are weak and do not protect the rights of filmmakers to profitable earnings.
Tambuwal made this assertion during a condolence visit to the widow of late veteran actor, Justus Esiri, in Lagos on Sunday.
He recalled that the actor had appealed to him personally as someone who had the interest of the entertainment industry at heart over the issue.
He noted with regret, that Eziri had sent an SMS to him, six hours before he (the actor) died, but that he did not get to read it, until actor Kanayo O. Kanayo called to tell him that the actor had passed on.
The Speaker arrived the Mafoluku residence of the Esiris at about 12:00 pm. He was in the company of some of his colleagues. He was led on the visit, by Kanayo and filmmaker, Zeb Ejiro.
Introducing the guests officially to the family, Kanayo described the Speaker as a friend of the late Esiri and a man who has the interest of the entertainment industry at heart.
He reminded the Speaker of the last visit of some actors to Asokoro, recalling how Esiri, who was seated to the left of the Speaker during the visit, was full of life and cracking jokes to the amusement of all.
Zeb Ejiro, who spoke next, pleaded with the Speaker to ensure that the privileges usually given to National Honours’ holders are extended to the late actor. Esiri was in 2012 given the award of Officer of the Order of Niger (OON).
Condoling with the family, Tambuwal expressed grief at the passing away of the actor, promising to support the family on his funeral rites.
“The nation cannot forget in a hurry, the contribution of Justus Esiri to the entertainment industry. My consolation is that he has left a good legacy. It is God who gives and takes. And I think his death should bring the industry together more than before. I know that there are challenges of piracy. I know that the laws guiding piracy are weak. We will try at the National Assembly, as much as possible to see that they are strengthened.”
In the condolence register, Tambuwal wrote: “It is indeed a great loss that we have to live with. Adieu our dear leader and uncle. You have made your mark. May the good Lord grant you His mercies, and the family, the fortitude to bear the loss.”
The family has also received condolence messages from representatives of the Lagos State government, Delta State Government and the Urobo community, including Urobo College, the late actor’s Alma mater.
Two hours after the Speaker and his entourage left, the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN), led by its President, Ibinabor Fiberesima arrived the residence.
The group had Genevieve Nnaji, Segun Arinze, Stephanie Okereke, Monalisa Chinda and Chidi Mokeme in attendance.
Others were: Zik Zulu, President, Association of Movie Producers (AMP) and Andy Amenechi, President, Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN).
The group presented a bouquet to the widow of the late actor.
Responding on behalf of the family, musician and second son of the late actor, Sidney, expressed gratitude to the visitors, promising to avail them with information on burial arrangements as soon as the family has concluded on it.
A family source said the late actor died of Type 2 Diabetes, a genetic disorder which he had managed for a while. He noted that there was no crisis prior to the death of the veteran actor, and that it could be said that he died peacefully. “He was fine; he went to work that day; he did his normal routine and passed on peacefully,” the source said.
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