ALLEGED SCAM: Film Makers, Ifeanyi Onyeabor, Steve James Reconcile 3 Year After

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As Nollywood eagerly awaits the release of ‘Tribe’Steve and Onyeabor, the film that led to the confinement of filmmaker, Ifeanyi Onyeabor by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2011, his partner in the project, Steve James has attributed the skirmishes to breakdown of communication between him and the director as shooting was going on.

Satisfied that they have put the matter behind them, he cautioned investors and players in the industry to open channels of proper communication to forestall such ugly incidents.

“I blame the problem on breakdown of communication between us. I was new in the industry and naturally reacted the way someone would react when third parties come to tell him that he is about to lose his investment. Luckily after everything, I discovered that Ifeanyi, actually meant well, and his lawyer and my lawyer sat down and agreed to withdraw the matter from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, though EFCC tried to pursue the matter out of mischief. Ifeanyi is not a fraudster. Everything is over now and we are back again as partners, looking forward to more projects that will shape the landscape of African entertainment.”

Corroborating this position, the defence counsel, Awala Hayes said: “In suit no.ID/155S/11 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Mr. Ifeanyi Onyeabor ( aka. IGO Motion Pictures International) The office of the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria brought a 7 count charge against Mr. Ifeanyi Onyeabor. These charges stemmed from the petition of Mr. Steve Okonmah of Steve James (Nig) Ltd who alleged that Mr. Ifeanyi Onyeabor through his company duped him of several millions of Naira on the guise that he was going to produce for him two movies titled Young Amazons and Tribe. The trial lasted three years before it was eventually struck out for want of diligent prosecution on the 26th of May 2014. The case went through 3 different judges, before it was struck out by Justice Ipaye of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court.”

Appreciating the film Tribe, Steve James, said it has the potential to be an all-time favourite film from Africa, stressing that the storyline, plot and technical details of the film will certainly serenade the local and foreign film communities.

Tribe which commenced recording in 2010 in Ghana, employed the services of actors and crew members from eight African countries and Jamaica after a 3-nation tour for auditions.

Last year, in Texas USA, Tribe clinched four awards including the ‘Outstanding Film Producer of the Year’, at the Extra-Ordinary People’s Award, which the filmmaker (fondly called John Woo) promptly dedicated to his governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

 

-Akin Sokoya