Sadiq Daba and Baba Sala; who will help our veteran actors?
Who will help our veterans? - Nollywood? Nigerians who have been entertained by these actors? Or the Government?
Currently, colleagues and close friends of sick veteran broadcaster and actor, Sadiq Daba, are rallying round to raise N20 million required to fly him abroad to treat leukaemia and prostrate cancer.
"I am hopeful in compassionate Nigerians and confident that they will help me beat these illnesses with their support to help me get well," he appealed to Nigerians.
Crowdfunding, the actor’s United Bank for Africa (UBA) current account No. 1005382276 was disclosed.
Baba Sala and Daba are just one of the many veteran actors, who, after years of advancing the society through film, theatre and television, cannot afford to take care of their health in old age.
Other actors who had taken the crowdfunding route include Ngozi Nwosu, Enebeli Enebuwa, Ashley Nwosu, Bruno Iwuoha and Prince James Uche.
All the above-mentioned actors, except Nwosu, were unable to raise the required amount of money for their treatment before they eventually passed away.
In 2012, the then Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, on behalf of the Lagos State Government, donated the sum of N4.5m to complete the money needed for the actress' operation.
The question is: Who will help our veterans? The Actor's Guild of Nigeria? Nigerians who have been entertained by these actors? Or the Government?
When an actor passes away from a medical condition that probably could have been averted, the first set of people that are blamed are the seemingly "rich colleagues."
Recently, Asuzuwho was down with stroke for a while accused Nollywood and Actors Guild of Nigeria of abandoning him. AGN responded to his claim, admitting that the body is indeed obligated to check up on sick actors, and apologised for any sort of negligence on their part.
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In 2015, after the AGN claimed to have paid off Prince James Uche's hospital bills and house rent, the actor told Pulse Nigeria that he didn't receive any help from the body.
Following Enebeli's death, Stella Damasus had serious misgivings about Nollywood's treatment of its ailing members. She accused her fellow actors of visiting the sick actors, taking photos and posting on social media just to come off as philanthropists.
Individually, Nollywood actors such as Rita Dominic and Desmond Elliot have rallied around to raise funds for their ailing colleagues. But there's only so much these actors can do individually, as they also have their personal needs to cater to.
Over the years, Nigerians have done their best to support ailing actors. However, in most cases, the total money realized doesn't get to save the patient.
Nigerians have, on several occasions, played a role in making sure some ailing entertainers get quality treatment.
Just two days after crowdfunding for Sadiq Daba kicked off, over 10 million naira was realized.
The only party who should be blamed for the penury and difficulty veterans go through to get quality treatment is the government.
The circumstances these actors find themselves in is simply a reflection of a government which has failed to provide quality health care for the people.
It is a reflection of a government which is insensitive to the plight of its citizen, irrespective of their contribution to the society.
In May 2017, Saidi Balogun said the inability of his colleagues to afford health insurance has been the major cause of their deaths.
He added that the situation has been compounded by the Government's soft stance against piracy, which has prevented actors from making enough money which could be channelled towards health insurance.
Recently, President MuhammaduBuhari approved the medical treatment of the now late former Vice-President of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, outside the country.
If our politicians deserve quality medical treatments abroad, why aren't veteran actors who developed Nollywood - an industry that contributes to the country's GDP - getting the same treatment?
While the AGN, several other bodies and Nigerians continue to save lives, it's time to truly hold the government accountable.
They are the only ones with the responsibility to help ailing veterans and several other sick Nigerians out there.
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