Interviews

TRICIA ESIEGBE’s bombshell ‘There are pedophiles among our celebrities’

+ Why they go into it!

Set to unveil The Psychologist

NOLLYWOOD actress and Boldfaces International creator, Tricia Esiegbe-Kerry spoke with ENCOMIUM Weekly on her public awareness programme tagged, The Psychologist, where she alleged that there are pedophiles among our celebrities.

DSC_8926-001Speaking with us on Thursday, February 27, 2014, at her office in Surulere, Lagos, the Edo born thespian revealed why men go into the devilish act, among other issues affecting Nollywood.

Why did you choose the name, The Psychologist for your programme?

The name just came to my brain.  The Psychologist means to psyche people, to psyche their brain.  That is why we are going to get psychologists to psyche their thinking.  Besides, I needed a name that’s unique, something that is different.  That’s why I chose it.

Tell us more about it.

The Psychologist is a public awareness programme on child sexual abuse.  We intend to expose sexual predators and create a support platform for victims of child molestation and to get the authorities to do more in supporting our children.   There are evidences that the predators called pedophiles have invaded Africa, Nigeria inclusive.  It’s unfortunate that people are not talking about it, probably because of stigmatization.  The Psychologist is divided into two parts.  We have it as a programme and on the move.  The Psychologist, as a TV show is going to be a 30-minute enlightenment programme where we give victims of sexual molestation support.  They tell their stories, not to learn from the stories alone, but to re-organise themselves because they have lost their self-esteem.

The second part, On the move, is a road show.  We have some celebrities who will be part of the road show.  The celebrities, those that are against pedophiles, because there are some pedophiles among our celebrities.

Are you serious about this?

Yes, there are pedophiles among our celebrities, that’s why we’ll only focus on the ones that share our thoughts.  They will wear our T-shirts and make noise around the major cities in Nigeria about it.  I am starting the campaign from Edo State because it’s my state and recently, I had a meeting with my governor, Adams Oshiomhole.  At present, we’ve shot 50 episodes of True Stories in Lagos, and I was shedding tears while shooting, seeing some of them narrating their experiences, while some preferred unknown actors to narrate their ugly experiences in the hands of pedophiles.

DSC_8994 copy-001Can you tell us some of the cases?

There are so many cases.  For instance, in Edo State, they have more than 60 cases of sexual molestation on ground.  Let me cite an instance.  During my visit to the Edo State Commissioner on Women Affairs and Children, there was a pathetic case of a little girl who her father has been sleeping with since the age of five, her biological father, not step-father and now she’s 13.  She was about to commit suicide at school when her teacher caught her, thereby confessed everything.  The same father has been sleeping with her younger one who ran away, and till date, nobody knows her whereabouts.  Apart from sleeping with her, she gave her out to his friends on weekends, to sleep with her and pay him.  The one that pained me most was a nine month baby that her father was trying to penetrate.  A nine month old daughter, can you imagine?  So, we have a lot of cases.  That’s what our organization, Bold Faces International is trying to do.  To tell the society that sexual molestation is real, with the purpose of sensitizing them.

What is the modality for the TV show?

Like I said, we have shot some scenes and it’s going to be shown in Nigeria and Europe.  But we are not starting on that yet.  We are doing the promo right now to be followed by the campaign across states in Nigeria, except the Sharia practicing states, where they believe it’s their culture.  We have to fight for these children, that’s why we are the voice of the voiceless.

Where is the funding coming from?

Because it’s my concept, my passion, I have to start spending my money.  We have shot 50 episodes already and you know how much that would be.  Shooting with different people, we even paid unknown artistes to narrate stories for the victims who do not want to be identified.  There are expenses as well, and we have been using our money but we’re expecting fund from the government. I believe that something will come from my state governor, even Delta State.  I am still talking to Lagos State government, and I hope they’ll respond positively.

From the several cases you have heard, why do you think men go into it?

I think, some of them is madness.  Some sickness, some of them is psychological, some spiritual.  That’s why you hear someone saying it’s devil’s work!  To me, I don’t think it’s ritualistic.  I see it as madness, that’s why I support the jail term for pedophiles.  When they come out of jail, they should be taken to a psychologist.

In what way is your husband supporting you?

He has been part of the whole concept from beginning. He has been moving around too for this concept to grow.  He was supposed to be here, but due to other commitment, he couldn’t make it.

Let’s talk about your career as an actress.  You’ve not been acting like before, will it be right to say you’ve dumped acting?

No, how can I dump acting?  That’s my passion and it has taken me to different places, even where I am today.  Don’t forget, I started with acting.  Acting is my passion, however, I don’t have time to be going on location for days when I have other projects.  Apart from that, the Nollywood of today is not the way it used to be.  There are issues, such as young actors leaving Abuja for Asaba to pay producers for roles in films.  I don’t know how true it is, but it’s crazy.  I see it as exploitation because the producers are supposed to pay you, not you paying them.  Our films lack focus and vision, except for some cinema films.  For instance, I have a company producing movies and series, like we did in Prada as a movie, and Prada as a series.  We have more series we are shooting this year.  So, I am still acting. In fact, I did a job for Chico Ejiro and I am still going to work with close friends, who know what they are doing…

(Cuts in) Work with close friends for free or you get paid?

Of course, they will pay me.  Why should I feature in a movie for free because you’re my friend when I know you’ll make money from the film?

DSC_8945 (1)-001Yes, it happens, especially in Yoruba genre?

Really!  That’s Yoruba not English movies. In fact, Chico is my good friend and he paid me because he knows I don’t have time and he felt I am the best character for that role.  In our Prada series, where we have more than 100 characters, we paid them all.  The issue is, if you don’t have money, why would you want to shoot a movie?  Begging people to feature for free and at the end, you shoot bad film.  I don’t support that.

Last year, there were controversies over Nollywood at 20. Some people believe that Nollywood is more than 20 years because of the roles the likes of Hubert Ogunde, Alade Aromire had played before they passed on. What’s your take on this?

My take is, I wasn’t there when Ogunde was active in acting. I only know that the name existed.  I started with Nollywood, therefore, I can only talk about what I know and I reckon with my people. I can’t reckon with Ogunde that I wasn’t part of. I watched Living in Bondage when I was young in Benin.

There are speculations that the recent trip to Aso Rock by some Nollywood actors was political, do you agree?

I wasn’t part of the group, but from what I have gathered, it’s not political. It’s more of enhancing Nollywood. They requested for secretariat for Nollywood.  They also discussed other things like welfare, piracy issues, which I think is good. If you ask me, I am not being political, but I think President Jonathan is the best president the country has produced for entertainment, because I cannot remember any president that showed so much concern for Nollywood the way Jonathan is doing.

–           RASHEED ABUBAKAR

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