Pete Edochie & Shiites clash over new movie "Fatal Arrogance"

Legendary Nollywood actor Pete Edochie and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) have exchanged banters over a new movie.

Edochie featurred in ‘Fatal Arrogance’, a forthcoming movie alleged to have misrepresented the sect, better known as Shiittes.

Edochie had alleged threat to his life by Shiites, over his role in the army-backed film said to have focused on the killing of its members in 2015.

It was gathered that the IMN petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, saying that the movie portrayed the group in a bad light.

Aside from petitioning the IGP alongside their releases, the IMN, better known as Shiite, were also reported to have written the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) on the issue.

In a chat with Sahara Reporters on Monday, Edochie had said broadcast messages and YouTube videos were circulated on WhatsApp in an attempt to forestall the project.

“I was part of a movie that was done a few days ago. Two days after we ended shooting that film, I got calls from people all over the country referring me to WhatsApp,” he said.

“I checked and saw that the IMN, according to what I read, had notified the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) that Pete Edochie and the Nigerian government, with some actors from the north, had done a production that was intended to ridicule and misrepresent them.

“One claimed the government gave money to Pete Edochie to exculpate them from what they did in Zaria years ago. I’m moved to comment on this… I don’t understand what IMN is driving at.

“If they have complained to the Inspector-General of Police, and the IGP says to give him a copy of the film, what are we going to do because the film is not in existence yet? It is not in circulation.

“I’m supposed to have played a role that ridiculed their boss, chief, whoever is in charge of their group. I am suggesting that you wait, keep your gunpowder dry, when the film is released.

“You can now make your grumbles known to the IGP. Whatever is being done now is premature, it is not proper. Fatal Arrogance, whatever it deals with, the best thing is to wait until it comes out.”

Edochie, however, urged the sect to direct all grievances to the movie producers.

“My name in the film is Alhaji Shasha Kurungu. I’m not aware there’s a leader of any religious sect in Nigeria who answers that. If there is, it’s a pure coincidence; the name is fictional,” he added.

“If you want to express resentment over a production you haven’t watched, direct your grievances to the producer of the film, not to Pete Edochie who is a mere actor, it does not concern me.

“I did not write it, the film was produced by Kingsley Orji Anosike. I thank all those people who informed me of the campaign, denigration, and the organised threat of my person by the IMN.

“I thank you all. I’m a free-born of Nigeria, I was born and raised in Nigeria. I’m not going to run away from this country because a few individuals think they want things done in their own way.”

However, reacting in a statementn on Tuesday, the IMN said Edochie attempted to give its movement a bad name by attracting “cheap sympathy” from Nigerians with his narrative.

The sect also said that the ace actor’s explanation was “inexplicable, his reasons flawed and his excuses unimpressive, irrational, and at best absurd”.

“The petition written by the IMN to the Inspector General of Police and the Film’s Censors Board doesn’t threaten anyone’s life. Issuing of threats has never been in our character,” the statement read.

“Pete Edochie should be honourable enough to accept that he allowed himself to be used to further vilify victims of one of the worst state-sponsored massacres of its citizens. He could still redeem his name as other actors in the ill-fated film are doing.

“If Edochie has any character as he claims, he would not have accepted to act any role in a film that seems to change the narrative and distort history based on a book distorting facts! If he had any integrity, he would not have accepted to appear in a movie tarnishing the image of an oppressed personality like Sheikh Zakzaky and still think he did nothing wrong because the Sheikh was not mentioned by name.

“Any serious artist worth the name must, first of all, undertake some kind of serious research to get the facts of any script brought to him right.

“Had he been bold enough to cross-check, he would have realized that genocide took place in Zaria in 2015 where over a thousand Nigerian lives were wasted by the sponsors of the film.

“He would have come across the very many attempts by the perpetrators to hide these heinous crimes, firstly by the burial of their victims in mass graves, an internationally recognized crime…

“He would have realized the matter is currently a subject of investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The script before him is a continuation of that desperate attempt to distort facts."

The IMN, led by Sheikh Zakzaky, who has been in police custody since 2015 after the group clashed security operatives, is a sect focused on the adaptation of an Islamic state in Nigeria.

It is understood that the group linked the Edochie-backed film to a book by Kuanum Terrence, a one-time national coordinator of the Benue Youth Forum whom they dubbed a military apologist.

This had come months after the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) partnered with the Nigeria's defense headquarters (DHQ) to help Nollywood “correctly” tell military stories.

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