The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens Petter Kjemprud, has said his country is ready to partner Nigeria for the development of its film industry.
Kjemprud, who made the disclosure at the screening of the film ‘The Lost Café’, at the Norwegian Embassy in Abuja, said the move is part of efforts at deepening bilateral relations between Nigeria and Norway.
He commended the producer for playing the linkage between the Nigerian film industry and its counterpart in Norway, describing it as a good example of collaboration between the two countries.
“The film is a very good example of cooperation between two countries on cultural issues. For me, it’s a good opportunity to show the close relations between the two countries and opportunity to build that cooperation into a more organisational cooperation between our two countries.
“This had led me to visit the film industry in Jos, to investigate whether there is a possibility to have organisational cooperation between the film institutes from the two countries,” he said.
The ambassador further described relations with Nigeria as excellent, adding that trade volume between his country and Nigeria now revolves around $500 million annually.
He said Norway-Nigeria relationship which dated back as 1890 with the importation of fish particularly, stork fish, from Norway have extended to other areas.
“Today, more than 50 Norwegian companies are operating in the offshore oil industry. We are also moving to renewable energy such as solar power.
“We have a very active Nigerian-Norwegian chamber of commerce which is going on a road show in Norway in October. I just discuss with the minister of trade and investment on how we can enhance cooperation in trade and investment.
“Nigeria produces between 2,500 and 7,500 megawatts of electricity for its almost 200 million population while Norway produces 46 thousand megawatts for 5million people. Norway has a comparative advantage in this area and its companies would want to assist in this area also,” he said.
Also speaking, Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, commended the producer for initiating what she described as the first Norwegian-Nigerian collaboration, noting that it would lead to further collaboration in other areas between the two countries.
“The story is about a woman who went to Norway and despite the cultural differences, she succeeded. It’s a good story about Nigeria and Nigerians in Diaspora. You don’t hear too many good stories coming out about Nigeria but this is a positive one.
“And I hope that it’s going to be the beginning of good cooperation and being a Norwegian-Nigerian collaboration, it’s going to be a different kind of film which everybody should look forward to and encourage,” she said.
Dabiri urged other Nigerians to come up with more positive stories as nobody, according to her, said will tell our story but ourselves. “Let’s show the world who we are by telling our own story.
“It is important to partner a group like this, now we have Nigerian Norwegian collaboration; we can have Nigeria with other countries telling the good stories and the good stories outweigh the bad stories.”
Producer of the film, Norway-based Nigerian, Regina Udalor, said she was inspired to do the movie following her experience as a young Nigerian girl in Europe.
She noted that a lot of Nigerians abroad are leading a good life and contributing positively to the development of their host countries, but lamented that little or nothing is reported of their successes.
“One of the reasons why I felt we should do the film was to change the impression a lot of westerners have about Nigerian girls, especially when you are very young. They think that you want to travel for prostitution, but a lot of us travel for other positive purpose, including education,” she said.