I went at 9:30 am to High Court 1 at Audu Bako secretariat for Iyan-Tama’s appeal case, which I had been informed of yesterday by a journalist friend and also Dr. Umar Faruk Jibril, the secretary of MOPPAN (The Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria) and Head of Department of the Department of Mass Communications at Bayero University. After being led up to the High Court by a friendly guard, I found Ahmad Alkanawy of the Centre for Hausa Cultural Studies, Sani Maikatanga of Fim Magazine, and other reporters from Trust, Leadership, BBC, gathered to wait outside the court. After some time, we heard that apparently the Chief Justice, a politically appointed judge who was to hear the case and apparently set the date, travelled and the case will be postponed until tomorrow or Monday.
After spending some time chatting with journalists, I went with National President of MOPPAN, Sani Mu’azu and other members of MOPPAN exco, to Goron Dutse Prison to see Iyan-Tama. This is the second time I have been to see Iyan-Tama in this prison. After depositing our phones and bags, we went through heavy iron doors to a dusty court yard and a small office where after a few minutes Iyan-Tama arrived. He joked with the friendly “keeper” and other guards and said (in Hausa–my translation from my memory of what he said) that he was fine. He didn’t have a problem in the prison; he just wanted to get out and continue with his life. He also explained that if someone was trying to find the registration for his company “Iyan-Tama Multimedia” and neglected to put in the hyphen, it would not show up in the search. That would explain the ”mysterious” (see discussion on the Finafinan Hausa listserve from people who had never heard of her in the film industry or in related publications and accuse “her” of being a front for someone else) Asabe Muktar’s claim in the Daily Trust of 8 January that “Hamisu Iyan Tama did not register with the Corporate Affairs Commission” because “she” supposedly,
“ applied for registration to the Corporate Affairs Commission with the names of the two companies, i.e. IYAN TAMA MULTI MEDIA LTD and LENSCOPE MEDIA SERVICES LTD. As it is normally done the names would go for “Availability check and Reservation of Name” at the CAC office. The following information followed my applications: [.... Lenscope Media was found to be registered, while]
2. IYAN TAMA MULTI MEDIA LTD, a letter/notice form from the CAC was sent with the following as content: “The CAC is pleased to inform you that one of your requested names has been approved and will be reserved for 60 days. Approved Name: IYAN TAMA MULTI MEDIA LTD. Serial Number: 1394473 Reserved Until: 25/7/2008. Approved By: Oyindamola Daramola. Submitted By: Ibrahim Adamu. “So Hamisu Iyan Tama did not register with the Corporate Affairs Commission.”
Of course, since “she” did not put “Iyan-Tama” with a hyphen the search would not have come up with “Iyan-Tama Multimedia.” It struck me as somewhat suspect that “she” would ”trust” a bureaucratic search over a hard copy of a receipt from CAC that Iyan Tama presented before the court. I had also been surprised to see it in the Trust, because I had seen a slightly different version in The Daily Triumph, a state government-owned publication, which regularly publishes editorials condemning the film industry. (See also this recent article by Muhammad Mahmud in The Daily Triumph, a vocal supporter of the mysterious “Asabe” on the Finafinan Hausa listserve.)
Following our visit, I also did a brief interview with Sani Mu’azu, which I am going to try to get published. If I do, I’ll post a link here. If not, I’ll post the entire interview here. (UPDATE: 12 February 2009. Here is the interview with Sani Mu’azu.)
(For more background information about the censorship crisis in Kano, see this post.)