The Isale Eko Descendants Union is attempting to impose a fine of $10 billion on the producers of Gangs of Lagos.
The group is dissatisfied with the filmmakers for depicting Isale Eko (Lagos Island) as a den of criminals and the Eyo masquerading as murderers.
According to ThisDay Newspaper, the Isale Eko Descendants’ Union and a couple of applicants have taken their complaints to court.
Chief Ayodele Bajulaiye, on behalf of the Bajulaiye Chieftaincy Family and Eyo Iga Bajulaiye, and Chief Abdul-Waheed Ayeni, on behalf of the Sasore Chieftaincy Family and Eyo Iga Sasore, make up the rest of the complaints.
They are seeking to impose the fine on the producers, which include Jadesola Soberu, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Adesegun Adetoro, Demi Olubanwo, Olumide Soyombo, Bankole Wellington, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Kola Aina, Greoh Limited, and Amazon Web Services Nigeria.
The complaints are also calling on the National Film and Censors Board (NFVCB) to withdraw the approval granted to the movie.
After hearing their case, a Lagos High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square presided by Justice Idowu Alakija has granted them leave to apply for judicial review and seek an order of mandamus directing the Attorney General of Lagos State and the Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board to sanction the film producers under the Cinematograph Law of Lagos State.
“To apply for judicial review and to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the attorney general and Lagos State Video and Film Censors Board to perform their statutory duty under the Cinematograph Law of Lagos State, impose a fine of 10 billion against the producers of the Gangs of Lagos movie, and demand an account of the proceeds from exploitation and streaming of the illegal and defamatory depiction of Isale Eko as a den of criminals and the Eyo Masquerade as a gang of murderers and assassins in the Gangs of Lagos movie,” the court document reads.
This case comes after the Isale Eko Descendants' Union initially expressed their disappointment with the portrayal of the Eyo masquerade as soon as the movie started streaming in April 2023.
Noting the historical heritage of the masquerade, the union frowned at its being portrayed in a "despicable and insensitive manner."
Scene from 'Gangs of Lagos' (left), Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (right)
Like the union, the Lagos government has also registered its displeasure with the portrayal of the Eyo masquerade as a gun-wielding villain.
Gangs of Lagos is the first African original for Prime Video and part of Osiberu's three-year overall deal with the streaming platform.