The Actors Guild of Nigeria’s national president, Emeka Rollas, has hinged the association’s introduction of health insurance to actors on the need to address the recurring situation where thespians with life-threatening ailments turn to social media to solicit funds for treatment.
In an interview with THE WHISTLER, Rollas advised its members who wouldn’t want to get sick and beg for money in the future to sign up for their health management scheme.
He said the guild could not force the HMO (health maintenance organization) on the actors who chose to opt out but noted that the AGN will not pay the medical bill of such actors when they’re ill and unable to foot their bills.
“We have Health Management Scheme but then the HMO (health maintenance organization) is not something you enforce on somebody, it’s a scheme you initiate and put up, any member who doesn’t want to get sick and beg money in the future can sign up for the scheme, and where a member doesn’t sign for it, they are on their own when anything happens because our association doesn’t pay for actors.
“It’s not like normal organizations where you receive salary and it’s deducted from it, here we are not the ones that pay our actors.
“So, it’s optional for an actor to sign up to HMO, and whoever that didn’t sign up, whatever comes to you, you have to take care of yourself,” AGN retorted.
THE WHISTLER recalls that the AGN had in July 2020 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Medicard Health Management, a health services provider, to provide health insurance for actors in the country.
Some of the actors who publicly sought financial assistance on social media include Victor Olaotan who died in August 2021 after a prolonged illness.
The late actor, who was best known for his role as Fred Ade-Williams in the popular TV series, Tinsel, was bedridden for five years after being involved in a ghastly accident.
In 2018, he requested financial aid to facilitate his treatment outside the country after two years of being incapacitated. Shortly after, Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola, agreed to settle his bill of about N39m.
In 2021, veteran actor Prince Emeka Ani went public with his illness for the first time on social media and sought financial support.
The actor publicly asked his fans for financial support, noting that he had been sick since December 7, 2020.
Also, a veteran actor Clem Ohameze, took to social media to solicit help and received N8 million from Prophet Fufeyin in November 2021 to undergo treatment after he was involved in an accident.
Appealing to Nigerians to pray for him, Ohameze had said: “Yes, I need money to pay hospital bills but I need prayer more because of the scary picture of the surgery process that was painted to me. I know there is nothing God cannot do. I need prayers please.’’
On the completion of a second surgery, the prophet provided an additional N1.5 million from the prophet.
Another Nollywood actor, Rich Oganiru, died on 10 August 2021. Before his death, a video of Oganiru lying on his sick bed while begging for financial assistance surfaced online.