A bleak reminder of this is the 15 deaths which have occurred in Nollywood in 2019.
After the painful death of Bisi Komolafe on December 31, 2012 – leaving grief and sorrow for the better part of January 2013 – a lot of Nollywood practitioners were hoping such occurrence will cease to usher in a new year. The year recorded the death of 10 movie practitioners.
Unfortunately, 2019 isn’t only towing that line but has since recorded a total of 15 deaths in the first five months of the year!
Sadly, the first five months of 2019 has witnessed the deaths of movie practitioners, whose ages range between 30 years and 58 years. The passing away of the fallen Nollywood stars has not only left sad pills in the mouth of the fans but also their families, friends, and colleagues.
Multiple reports reveal that 12 out of these 15 deaths recorded are as a result of health challenges. Out of the 15 deaths, two were as a result of auto crash, one was complications after childbirth and others are health challenges ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure. This scary statistic has once again ignited the conversation on the need for a proper health insurance scheme or health plans for Nigerian actors.
The popular narrative is that there isn’t a health plan for Nollywood actors. There actually is one.
Fred Amata says the Directors Guild of Nigeria is aware of the need to have health insurance schemes and packages for entertainers. [September standard]
Actor and President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria, Fred Amata exclusively tells that the DGN is aware of the need to have health insurance schemes and packages for entertainers. However, he says this can only be enjoyed by members of the association.
Amata went ahead to inform that 15 guilds and associations including the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, Theatre Arts and Motion Picture Producers Association of Nigeria , Director Guild of Nigeria, Creative Designers Guild of Nigeria, Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria, Film/Video Producers & Marketers Association of Nigeria, Screenwriters Guild of Nigeria, Association of Motion Picture Entertainment Editors of Nigeria, Association of Voice Over Artists of Nigeria, Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria, signed a Memorandum Of Understanding in 2017 to create a welfare scheme known as NollyInsured.
“ We inspired a welfare scheme for the creative sector called NollyInsured. NollyInsured is a progressively inclusive welfare scheme for the creative sector that has 15 guilds and associations in the entertainment sector signed an MOU that forces down premiums based numbers,” Amata says.
“NollyInsured covers 3 main areas namely Health Insurance, Life/General Insurance, and Pension,” he further explains.
Amata also said members of the 15 associations and guilds enjoy the insurance packages at very reduced premiums. “As low as N40,000 a year for a family of 6,” Amata tells Pulse.
The President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Emeka Rollas also corroborates Amata’s claims.
Emeka Rollas says Nollywood is an emerging industry that has no organised structures that can help the industry be completely insurance compliant. [Guardian]
However, Rollas says Nollywood is an emerging industry that has no organised structures that can help the industry be completely insurance compliant.
Rollas’ opinion is backed by Seun Apara, one of the brains behind the Nigerian Entertainment Industry Health Insurance Scheme.
Apara says it is necessary for everyone including entertainers to have health insurance. He further says due to the peculiarities of the entertainment industry, entertainers require a customised health insurance scheme that can serve them adequately.
Seun Apara says it is necessary for everyone including entertainers to have health insurance. [clothing360]
On what the NEIHIS has done, he says, “Well, for health insurance, we approached the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 2014 to approve a customised health insurance scheme that will be privately run by select Health Management Organisations (HMOs) due to the peculiarities of the entertainment industry. Our request was approved in 2015 and that gave birth to the launch of the Nigerian Entertainment Industry Health Insurance Scheme (NEIHIS). The scheme has lots of advantages for entertainers because it addressed all the peculiarities of the industry with access to all emergency situations 24 hours across the country.”
An industry stakeholder behind ‘The Upcoming Artist Guide,’ Louis Tochi notes that it is unarguably important for entertainers to have a health insurance scheme. He says, “Of course, health insurance scheme is unarguably important for entertainers. It should be a top priority. For some, it’s unaffordable. For others, they probably brush it off as some unnecessary extravagance. Then for some, it could be ignorance.”
In 2019, Yoruba movie veterans Babatunde ‘Baba Suwe’ Omidina, Samuel ‘Alabi Yellow’ Akinpeluand Ojo ‘Fadeyi Oloro’ Arowosafe have been down with health challenges. They have had to seek funds from fans and the Nigerian public to regain their health.
There are also stories of other not-so-popular movie and music stars that are battling health challenges and are seeking donations from fans and the general public. This has since become a source of worry for practitioners and industry stakeholders.