Amazon Web Services Nigeria, a subsidiary of Amazon Inc. and founder of Prime Video Nigeria, has claimed that its movie, “Gangs of Lagos”, is not injurious to anyone.
The company is a defendant in a suit, No LD/6903GCM/2023, before the Lagos High Court, instituted by the Isale Eko Descendants Union (IDU), following its production ‘Gang of Lagos’.
The indigenes had sued Amazon, claiming N10 billion damages before Justice Idowu Alakija of the Lagos High Court, over the film’s contents.
However, according to a statement by Amazon in Lagos, Mr Alakija fixed an October date to determine the company’s preliminary objection to the suit.
In the suit, the defendants questioned the authority of the Lagos State Government to censor films and videos produced within its jurisdiction 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.
Equally, the defendants sought an order of the court pursuant to section 25(1)(q) of the 1999 constitution to strike out the suit as it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the same.
According to the defendants, the law under which the suit was filed was irrelevant to the video and film 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 Jadesola Osiberu, Kemi Lala-Akindoju, Adesegun Adetoro, Demi Olubanwo, Olumide Soyombo, and Bankole Wellington.
Other defendants in the suit are Adesua Etomi-Wellington, 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 Ayodele Bajulaiye, who sued on behalf of Bajulaiye Chieftaincy Family and Eyo Iga Bajulaiye and 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 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’’.