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Pulse Opinion Why we don't have paparazzi in Nigeria

The reasons why we don't have paparazzi in Nigeria has to do with the celebrity culture, the legal system and economy.

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Nigerian press photographers play

Nigerian press photographers


It's a quiet Sunday morning in this part of Lagos-Lekki. The gates of an elegant mansion opens and an SUV slowly comes out. Before driving off, the man in the Toyota SUV rolls down the windows and kisses the lady of the house, a beautiful dark skinned woman.

Unknown to the couple, a photographer has been outside of this mansion for hours waiting for this opportunity. At the moment the man and woman kiss, the photographer snaps them with his powerful zoom lens. Thirty minutes after the seemingly ordinary kiss between a man and his wife, a breaking story appears on Pulse- "Tiwa Savage, Tee Billz: Celebrity couple reunites with a hot kiss!"

A scene from the movie La Dolce Vita play

A scene from the movie La Dolce Vita


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Now the scenario is far from reality but just imagine if we had paparazzi in Nigeria. These are the kind of stories that they would be breaking, but alas we don't so we can't experience these type of stories. This leads to the baffling question of why there is no paparazzi in Nigeria. Why don't we have paparazzi in Nigeria?

Britney Spears' infamous meltdown play

Britney Spears' infamous meltdown

(twitika )


Let's start from the beginning. Paparazzi is the name given to a group of independent photographers who take pictures of celebrities while they are going about their normally daily routines. A paparazzo is an independent male photographer who does this job, while a paparazza is a female photographer.

The word paparazzi comes from the name of a fictional photographer Paparazzo in the 1960 film 'La Dolce Vita'. It only makes sense that the word derived from Italy seeing that the first paparazzi emerged in Italy during the 1950s after World War II. At that time a lot of Hollywood studios moved to Rome as a cost cutting measure. Since then the paparazzi culture blew up as people wanted to see their favourite stars unguarded and different from the images studios had forced on them for years.

Kim Kardashian in front of the paparazzi play

Kim Kardashian in front of the paparazzi

(Cosmopolitan )

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Now we can't imagine Hollywood or any other entertainment capital in Europe without photographers scrambling for a photo of the biggest stars in the world. In Nigeria the only resemblance we have of the paparazzi are photographers who scramble for the perfect picture of Genevieve Nnaji on the red carpet. As beautiful as these pictures are, we are yet to see a lot of our stars in their natural element.

One main reason why we don't have paparazzi in Nigeria is the poor celebrity culture. Our celebrity entertainment is good but is not up to what we have overseas. There really isn't much for the paparazzi to do here anyway. It's not just glamorous or scandalous like what we have in other parts of the world. Once in a while we have big stories but for most of the time it's the usual boring stuff.

Nigerian photographer play

Nigerian photographer

(Flickr )


Also we do not have the media laws to protect the paparazzi in Nigeria. While doing his job a paparazzo can have his camera snatched or damaged. It could even be worse- the celebrity and his entourage might beat him up severely and there will be no reprecussions. No court of law will help him seek damages. The law in this side of the world doesn't favour them.

A freelance photographer is paid by any media outlet that is interested in his photos. I don't really see this happening in Nigeria, where many media outfits struggle to pay the salaries of their staff. Economically, the entertainment industry cannot afford the paparazzi. It would crash in less than six months because the entertainment media isn't really that lucrative.

These are the reasons why we don't have a swarm of photographers chasing Tonto Dikeh all over Lagos for the photo of her new born son. Economically we can't afford it and the celebrity culture plus the legal system will frustrate the paparazzi.

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