by SAMUEL AWOYINFA and ALLWELL OKPI
Nollywood has been thrown into fresh mourning as producer and director, Taiwo Bello, died in Lagos on Friday, after being bedridden for months with cancer.
Some Nollywood actors, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH, said Bello, who co-wrote the hit movie, Jenifa, with Funke Akindele and produced and directed the 2010 movie, Omije Mi, was hard-working and dedicated to the profession.
In a text message sent to SUNDAY PUNCH by Akindele’s publicist, the actress described the late Bello as a good man.
“The death is unfortunate. it goes to show that entertainers are endangered species. He was a good man with commendable legacy,” he said.
The former president of the Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners, Jide Kosoko, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the entire Nigerian movie industry was mourning the loss of Bello.
“It is so sad. He had just gotten to the peak of his career and look at what has happened. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that he is dead.
“I saw him as someone who always aspired for excellence and professionalism. He was an articulate professional. The Nigerian movie industry would miss him a great deal,” he said.
Another actor and producer, Adebayo Salami, described Bello’s death as sudden, saying he was not aware the late producer was ill.
“It is very sad. We didn’t hear about his sickness. He was hard-working, dedicated and focused, may his soul rest in perfect peace,” he said.
Bello collaborated with some of the big names in the Yoruba movie scene, including Funke Akindele, on some movie projects.
Bello died exactly a month after his last birthday, which was March 14.
A leading Yoruba actress, Fathia Balogun, confirmed the development on Twitter on Saturday evening, saying, “May the soul of Taiwo Bello rest in peace.”
Messages of condolence flowed on his Facebook page and on Twitter on Saturday.
It was particularly chilling as some commentators linked it to an alleged Easter Sunday warning by a Nigerian preacher, TB Joshua, that his congregation should “pray against the death of a male member of the (movie) industry.”
Before his death, Bello was the CEO/MD at Cinescope Concept.
He is survived by a wife and children.
Bello joins a list of notable Nollywood personalities who have died in recent months, including Ashley Nwosu, Sam Loco Efe, Ahmed Alasari and Geraldine Ekeocha.
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