It’s often shocking when an actor, who has enjoyed years of stardom, comes out to say he is broke.
Some actors either fade out of the limelight because the roles were no longer coming in, walk away from Nollywood on their own terms because the pay was no longer satisfactory, or even die because they couldn’t afford their medical bills.
Femi Ogedengbe, who was once a ‘successful’ actor in the Yoruba movie industry, recently revealed that he currently makes more money as a security guard in the US than he did as an actor in Nigeria.
Stanley Aguzie, who landed a role in Vikings after he moved to Ireland, told Tribune Online that a lot of his popular friends are broke and miserable.
Saidi Balogun told Encomium Magazine that this is because Nollywood is no longer what it used to be and most actors can no longer charge professionally.
“We just settle for whatever the producers are ready to offer,” he said.
If fans were to judge some Nollywood actors by their popularity or quantity of films, they would be billionaires. But that isn’t the case.
Here are five popular actors who have come out to tell the world about their financial status:
1. Ernest Asuzu
In 2015, Daily Independent reported that Asuzu was seen begging at Shoprite in Surulere Lagos.
The actor, who was still recovering from a stroke at the time was limping while he begged for money to eat.
In 2016, the actor was gifted with a brand new jeep and cash to start afresh by Prophet Jeremiah Omoto Fufeyin.
The prophet gave him a brand new jeep worth N3.5m, and 1.5 million naira to start up a new life.
In a 2017 interview with Linda Ikeji Blog, the actor said he was abandoned by the members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, who were aware of his situation.
Ernest Asuzu, until his ailment, was an active actor in Nollywood. He is popular for movies such as “Accidental Discharge,” “Royal Wedding,” “Chain Reaction” and “Dirty Game.”
2. Baba Sala
Veteran comedian and actor, Moses Olaiya, popularly known as Baba Sala, recently requested financial help from Nigerians for his health.
Sala, who is popular for movies such as “Orun Mooru,” “Aare Agbaye,” “Diamond” and “Ana” needed a lot of money for his medical treatment abroad.
His first son, Reverend Dele Adejumo, said that all business investments of the aged veteran have been ruined by circumstances and poor management.
“I need help. Nigerians should help me. I am not dead yet, they should not let me die suffering,” he said during a press conference.
3. Dejumo Lewis
In 2015, Veteran actor, Dejumo Lewis, who is known for his role as Kabiyesi in “The Village Headmaster” classic TV soap, said he was broke.
During an interview with Punch, the actor said that despite the ‘legend’ and ‘icon’ label, he was one of the poorest paid actors in Nollywood.
“I had to struggle to pay my rent and my staff. I must admit that right now, I am indebted to the management of the hotel that I am staying. I also owe two of my staff more than three months salary. They have been so loyal and committed to me,” he said in 2015.
Lewis has starred in critically acclaimed movies such as “Dazzling Mirage,” “October 1,” “When Love Happens” and “Invasion 1897.”
4. Uche Oduputa
In 2007, Uche Oduputa was arrested for trafficking drugs and was jailed for two years and three weeks.
In an interview with Broadway TV, the actor revealed that his financial situation led him into trafficking.
According to him, he thought it would change his condition since he wasn’t getting any substantial movie roles at the time and couldn’t afford to feed or house his family.
Since his release from jail, the actor has featured in successful productions such as “Husbands of Lagos,” “Last Flight to Abuja,” among others.
5. Tajudeen Oyewole (Abija)
Popularly known as Abija, the actor was a successful Yoruba actor until he was involved in an auto crash in 2007, while shooting the movie “Ibinu Abija.”
In a 2015 interview with The Nation, the actor said that his fame hadn’t translated into wealth.
“I am not rich; I don’t have a roof over my head, which is part of measuring one’s wealth in this part of the world; I don’t even have a land,” he told The Nation.
He added that the money realised from acting is just not much, or even as enough as their fans think.