Amazon Web Services Nigeria, a subsidiary of Amazon Inc. and founder of Prime Video Nigeria, has claimed that its film, “Gangs of Lagos”, is not injurious to anyone.
This was revealed in a preliminary objection by the global entertainment company in a suit filed by the Isale-Eko Descendants Union (IDU), among others, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
NAN reports that the company is a defendant in a suit, No LD/6903GCM/2023, before a Lagos High Court, instituted by the IDU, following its production ‘Gang of Lagos’.
The IDU had sued the company, claiming N10 billion damages before Justice Idowu Alakija of the Lagos High Court, over the contents of the film.
Alakija had fixed an October date to determine Amazon’s preliminary objection to the suit.
The defendants had queried Lagos State’s jurisdiction over the production of the film before the court by some indigenes of the state.
In the suit, the defendants are questioning the authority of the Lagos State Government to censor films and videos produced within its jurisdictions stipulated in the Cinematograph Law of Lagos State, 2004.
Amazon, accused of the alleged depiction of the claimants’ territory as a den of criminals and its traditional Eyo as a gang, argued that the state’s Cinematography Law was inapplicable in the matter.
Equally, the defendants sought an order of the court pursuant to Section 25(1)(q) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to strike out the suit as it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain same.
According to the defendants, the Law under which the suit was filed was not relevant to the video and films censors law of Lagos State, explaining that the appropriate law was that of the National Film and Video Censors Board Act, 1993.
Aside from the corporate body, other defendants in the suit are Mrs Jadesola Osiberu, Ms Kemi Lala-Akindoju, Mr Adesegun Adetoro, Demi Olubanwo, Mr Olumide Soyombo and Mr Bankole Wellington.
Other defendants in the suit are Mrs Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Mr Kola Aina, Greoh Ltd. and Amazon Web Services Nigeria for an alleged sacrilegious and scandalous depiction of Eyo Masquerade in the movie.
The claimants are Chief Ayodele Bajulaiye, who sued on behalf of Bajulaiye Chieftaincy Family and Eyo Iga Bajulaiye and Chief Abdul-Waheed Ayeni on behalf of Sasore Chieftaincy Family and Eyo Iga Sasore.
However, in its preliminary objection, Amazon challenged the powers of the Lagos State Government on its regulatory role in the case.
It consequently requested the court to dismiss the Lagos State Cinematography Law which they claimed was enacted outside the legislative competence of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The defendants claimed that the High Court of Lagos State had no jurisdiction to compel the Lagos State Government to censor the said film under its Cinematography Law which it argued falls within the provisions of the National Film and Video Censors Board Act.
The 1999 constitution, the defendants averred precludes the High Court of Justice from ‘’exercising jurisdiction over interpretation of the Constitution as it relates to the Federal Government and its agencies’’. (NAN)