Genesis Cinema has claimed that Nigeria lost about seven movie theatres to the hoodlum attacks and vandalism that trailed the #EndSARS protests.
In the past few days, there have been serial looting and vandalism of private businesses and government properties, and the burning of police stations across the state following the crisis that erupted as a result of the #EndSARS protests.
These attacks were triggered by the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos on October 20.
In a chat with Arise TV on Tuesday, Ope Ajayi, executive director for Genesis Cinema, counted the losses incurred by the brand due to the vandalism and lootings that were recorded during the violent aftermath of the protest.
He said the firm’s Novare, Lekki and Sangotedo stores were affected while its restaurant at Circle Mall was also hit.
“In total, I think we’ve lost about seven cinemas in the country, generally from this EndSARS protest, not just Genesis now. Our store at Novare, Lekki; Sangotedo was affected,” Ajayi said.
“But we’re probably better than our colleagues in the industry. Our restaurant at Circle Mall was also affected.”
The damage to Nigerian theatres come after the financial losses incurred amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the delayed reopening of film houses thereafter, and the safety measures that forced the industry to operate below capacity.
Ajayi expressed concerns that the affected brands might have to stay out of business for a while before a comeback.
“Generally we all hope for a safer country. There are a lot of stalls along Admiralty Way that are standalones. And there were others that were not necessarily malls that were targeted,” the director added.
“I don’t think it’s a mall thing. I agree malls are a target but I think a better strategy is to ensure the malls are safe. And to see how to prevent general unrests going forward. We’re not moving to standalone. It’s also just as risky.
“Our premises are insured but there’s so much insurance can do. You’re going to stay out of business for a while.
“Even when you reopen, sometimes there’s a buildup. You’re not just going to reopen and business picks up. Yes we’re insured, which reduces the impact of the losses, but it’s still a huge hit on us.”