The Isale Eko Descendants’ Union (IDU), a cultural organization that speaks for the lineages of the original occupants of Lagos Island, has voiced its displeasure with the way the Eyo masquerade was portrayed in the recent Nigerian film Gangs of Lagos, directed by Jade Osiberu.
Gangs of Lagos, which was released on Amazon Prime Video on April 7, 2023, had scenes that showed the masquerades as a violent and intimidating presence that criminal gangs used to intimidate and kill rivals. The IDU have criticized this representation, claiming that it distorts the genuine meaning of the Eyo masquerade and fosters unfavorable perceptions about their culture.
In a statement signed by the union’s chairman, Mr. Yomi Tokosi, the IDU expressed its blatant displeasure at how Isale Eko was showcased in the movie.
It read, “The attention of the Isale Eko Descendants’ Union (IDU) has been drawn to the very disturbing violent images in a new movie directed by Jade Osiberu and Kemi Lala Akindoju, executive produced by Adesegun Adetoro, Demi Olubanwo, Olumide Soyombo, Bankole Wellington, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, and Kola Aina; and filmed by Greoh Studios and released by Amazon’s Prime Video Nigeria called gangs of Lagos.
“In the movie, the unique Eyo masquerade indigenous to the Isale Eko community in Lagos was illegally and scandalously depicted as being used as a camouflage, decoy and subterfuge for murderers and gangsters operating in the Isale Eko area.