Top Nollywood filmmaker, Chico Ejiro has died.
It was gathered that he died on Friday – Christmas Day – about 2am from a seizure.
He only just concluded directing his new movie on Christmas Eve.
Ejiro was popular for his blockbuster movies in the 90s.
He produced movies like Silent Night, Blood Money, Deadly Affair, among other notable movies.
According to The Punch, the news was confirmed in a telephone conversation with his colleague and close friend, Zik Zulu, who reportedly said: “Yes, it is true, Chico Ejiro is dead.”
Also, the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Emeka Rollas, confirmed the filmmaker’s death to the newspaper.
He said, “I just learnt of his death. The news of his death is so devastating. I do not know the cause of his death; I am still calling around to get the proper information and I am waiting for his association ― The Association of Movie Producers ― to make a statement.”
However, a source close to the deceased revealed that Ejiro died about 2 am on Christmas Day.
“He was ill about five weeks ago and he was rushed to a hospital in Surulere where he was placed on admission. After about a week, he was discharged and he went back home to recuperate.
“From what he said, he had high blood pressure that led to some heart complications. He was recuperating and got better. He even started a production that he was shooting about four days ago but he was not fully involved.
“He was just like the supervising director. He will go to the location and supervise them, so, we all felt that he was good. Although he kept saying that he had not gotten back to his full health; he was still very weak. We were shocked about his death because he was even talking to some of his friends till late last night. I learnt he died about 2 am this morning,” the source said.
Born Chico Maziakpono in Isoko, Delta State, Ejiro originally studied agriculture, and he was drawn into video production because Nigerians would not buy blank video cassettes. His enormous body of work was typical of the second generation that started in the 1990s when cheap video-production equipment became available in the country. He owned a production company called Grand Touch Pictures, which is based in Lagos, according to Wikipedia.
Nicknamed Mr. Prolific, he directed over 80 movies within a 5-year period—each one shot in as little as three days. They feature story lines relevant to Nigerians The exact number of movies he has worked on as either director, producer, or both is unknown, but it ranges in the hundreds as of 2007.
He was profiled in an article in The New York Times, dated May 26, 2002 (“When There’s Too Much of a Not-Very-Good Thing” by Matt Steinglass), and in an article from the international version of Time Magazine dated May 26, 2002 (“Hollywood, Who Really Needs It?” by Stephan Faris).
Ejiro was married to Joy Ejiro and they have four children. He has two brothers: Zeb Ejiro, the best-known of the new Nigerian cinema auteurs outside of the country, and Peter Red Ejiro, also a movie producer.
Ejiro was featured in the 2007 documentary Welcome to Nollywood, which followed him as he made Family Affair 1 and Family Affair 2.