Nollywood is the Nigerian film industry which is globally rated as the second largest film producer in the world, behind Bollywood, India’s film industry. The history of Nollywood can be traced as far back to when Nigeria gained its independence which was in the 1960s. That was when the first Nollywood films were produced which is regarded as the first generation Nigerian filmmakers. The actors then were Jab Adu, Ola Balogun, Adeyemi Afolayan (popularly known as Ade Love), Moses Olaiya (popularly known as Baba Sala), Eddie Ugboma and Hubert Ogunde.

Moses Olaiya popularly known as Baba Sala is regarded as the father of Nigerian comedy due to his hilarious comedic movies.  Ola Balogun focused on making movies on a broad range including a film about corruption, poverty, politics, and music.

Hubert Ogunde was the first person to explore the field of Nigerian folk opera. He opened the Ogunde Concert Party otherwise known as Ogunde Theatre in 1945, which was the first professional theatrical company in Nigeria at that time.

The first native feature film that was produced in Nigeria was in 1970, and it was titled “Kongi’s Harvest” which was written by Wole Soyinka who is now the noble laureate.  Other films produced during this time include:

  • Alpha: it was produced in 1972
  • Bull Frog in the Sun: it was produced in 1974
  • Amadi: it was produced in 1975
  • Ajani Ogun: it was also produced in 1975
  • Muzik Man: it was produced in 1976
  • Bisi, Daugther of the River: it was produced in 1977
  • Ija Ominira (The Fight for Independence): it was produced in 1978
  • Aiye: it was produced in 1979
  • Kadara (Destiny): it was produced in 1980
  • Jaiyesime: it was also produced in 1980
  • Efusetan Aniwura: it was produced in 1981
  • Cry Freedom: it was also produced in 1981
  • Ija Orogun: it was produced in 1982

The Nigerian movie industry started with stage performance before gradually moving into full film production. These pioneers single-handedly drove local content to the stage of competing with materials from Hollywood in Nigeria. Also, there is no way we will be talking about the Nigerian film Industry without mentioning The Head of State Yakubu Gowon for his Indigenization Decree which allowed locals to own theaters and also limited foreign television content on local broadcasting networks, thereby promoting the televising of local popular theatre productions.


Nigeria movie producers began to enjoy huge commercial success, all thanks to God and the government’s support. This resulted to a sudden increase in the number of existing Nigerian screenwriters, playwrights and film producers as popular literature and theater works were adapted into films Nigerians referred to as “home videos”.

This further lead to a small scale informal video movie trade, which was centering on distributors in Alaba Market who would sell recorded copies of the broadcasted shows. This was the method used all through the ’80s before it was taken a step further by Kenneth Nnebue who produced “living In Bondage”. Kenneth Nnebue was said to have had an excess number of imported video cassettes during that time which he used to shoot the film on a video camera. Due to the increased number of cassettes available, “Living In Bondage” became a massive success and was made available in every part of the country despite having been made in the Igbo language.


The Nigerian film industry continues to grow from height to height, both on production quality and sales across Africa and the African diaspora. One of the Nigerian movies to get acknowledged internationally was Osoufia in London, which starred comedic actor Nkem Owoh in a leading role.

It was around this time that Ghanaian actors started getting starring roles in the mainstream of Nigerian films. This was possible because of a contract deal signed between a Nigerian filmmaker and a Ghanaian production company which demanded that Ghanaian stars get featured roles. Also, as movie production in Nigeria was getting expensive, several producers decided to shoot their films in Accra, Ghana in other to save expenses. The  Ghanaian actors that were beneficiaries of this include; Jackie Appiah, John Dumelo, Van Vicker, Majid Michel, Nadia Buari, Yvonne Okoro and Yvonne Nelson just to mention a few.

The Ghana movie industry started to grow as early as the mid-2000s but with Nigeria’s bigger market and already established distribution. Also, most Ghanaian movie productions were copyrighted to Nigerian movies. This later leads to some sort of confusion by the international audience when trying to identify the actors from Nigeria and Ghana because both countries actors have featured hugely on films from either side.


Who are the top 10 Nollywood actors and their net worth?

  1. Richard Mofe Damijo – $15 million
  2. Desmond Elliot – $10 million
  3. Jim Iyke – $8 million
  4. Chidi Mokeme – $7 million
  5. Segun Arinze – $5.1 million
  6. Mike Ezuruonye – $4.7 million
  7. Ramsey Noah – $4.5 million
  8. John Okafor – $4.2 million
  9. Nkem Owoh – $3.9 million
  10. Pete Edochie – $3.8 million

Here are the things you should know about the Top 4 Richest Nollywood Actors.

Richard Mofe Damijo


Richard Mofe Damijo popularly known as RMD is a Nigerian richest and famous actor. He started his career in Nollywood in the late 1990s. RMD is a director, investor, producer, and politician. He was the former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Delta State.

He has featured in many movies and drama series. Richard Mofe Damijo has won several awards for playing major roles in movies including Life Time Achievement Award and 2005 Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He is currently CEO of RMD Production Limited and he also produces his drama series titled, “The Mr. X Family Show”.

The Veteran Nigerian actor was born on the 6th of July, 1961, in the Aladja community of Udu Kingdom, near Warri, Delta State. He celebrated his 58th birthday recently. RMD is regarded as Nigeria’s hottest grandpa for his handsome look and his charisma.

Richard Mofe Damijo grew up in his hometown and attended Midwest College in Warri and he finished at Anglican Grammar School and he was a member of the Drama Club. Having finished his secondary school, RMD enrolled in the University of Benin where he continued his education and studied Theatre Arts. He later decided to study law at the University of Lagos in 1997 and graduated in the year 2004.

From 1997 to 1999, RMD featured as one of the lead actors in films such as Scores to Settle, Hostages, Freedom, Diamond Ring and Out of Bounds. Out of Bounds was the first film he wrote and produced. He featured in a television soap opera in the late ’80s called “Ripple” and he also had a stint with Concord Newspapers and Metro Magazines as a reporter. RMD played major roles in thirteen movies in the year 2003 all by himself including Romantic Attraction alongside co-stars Chioma Chukwuka, Zack Orji and Stella Damasus-Aboderin.

In the year 2004, he featured as a lead actor in eighteen movies including I Want Your Wife, Critical Assignment, and Deadly Desire. Critical Assignment was a pan-African action movie. Richard Mofe-Damijo was awarded the Best Actor in a Leading Role in the 2005 maiden edition of the African Movie Academy Awards. In the movie “30 Days in Atlanta”, he acted as Kimberley’s father alongside with popular comedian AY Makun (AY) and veteran actor Ramsey Noah. The movie premiered on the 31st of October, 2014 and it became the highest-grossing movie of all time in Nigerian cinema in the year 2015. He also played the father of the groom, Banky W as Chief Felix Onwuka in the 2017 romantic comedy-drama film, titled “The Wedding Party 1&2″ .

At 2012 Best of Nollywood Awards, he took home a Special Recognition Award and he also earned a Lifetime Achievement Award At the 12th Africa Movie Academy Award in the year 2016.


Richard Mofe Damijo was married to Nigerian popular magazine editor and TV personality, May Ellen Ezekiel professionally known as MEE, an abbreviation from her name. MEE died in 1996 during surgery in a Lagos hospital. Richard Mofe Damijo later got married to his current wife after a few years, Jumobi Adegbesan, a journalist who used to work with African International Television (AIT) talk show Lunch Break. Jumobi Adegbesan later left the media field for the corporate world. Richard Mofe- Damijo is a father of five children. He is blessed with three sons and two beautiful daughters.


Although, the total value of his wealth his unknown he is currently regarded as the top richest Nollywood actor with an estimated net worth of USD 15 million .

Desmond Elliot


Desmond Elliot is a Nigerian actor, producer, model, investor, and politician. Desmond Oluwashola Elliot has starred in over two hundred films including a number of television shows and soap operas.

Desmond Oluwashola Elliot was born on the 4th of February, 1974 in Lagos, Nigeria. Elliot is currently 45 years old. His father is a Yoruba man from Olowogbowo in Lagos Island and his mother is from IIIah in Oshimili North, Delta State. Elliot received his primary education at Air Force Primary School and he later attended St John’s College, both in Jos. After his secondary school education, he studied economics at Lagos State University and graduated in the year 2003.

It was through the influenced of a friend that made Elliot become an actor. Elliot started featuring in soap operas such as Everyday People, One Too Much and Saints, and Sinners. He is one of the most popular Nollywood actors and some of his popular movies include Atlanta, Men Who Cheat and Yahoo Millionaire.

In 2008, Desmond Elliot co-produced and co-directed the movie titled “Reloaded” which received three nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards in the year 2009. He was nominated for Best Actor of the Year at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in the year 2009 and 2010. Elliot is currently the ambassador for the Face of the Hope project, a non-religious, non-political and non-governmental organization, to help fix child illiteracy in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

Speaking of his political career, Elliot declared his intentions to run for Lagos State House of Assembly under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in September 2014. He contested and won the Surulere Constituency 2015 Nigerian General Election held in Nigeria on the11th of April 2015. Elliot is also involved in public relations projects for the Nigerian Telecoms company, “Globacom”.


Desmond Elliot is married to Victoria Elliot with four children. They celebrate their 15th wedding Anniversary on the 26th of December, 2018.


Desmond Elliot is currently one of the most influential and richest actors in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of USD 10 million .

Jim Iyke


James Ikechukwu Esomugha, famously known as Jim Iyke, is a Nollywood actor, entrepreneur, and media personality.

The veteran Nigeria actor was born on the 25th of September, 1976 in Libreville, Garbon. Jim Iyke is from Enugu Agidi town in Anambra State, the southeastern region of Nigeria. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Okolue whose last name later became Esomugha from Ogwugwu village in Enugu Agidi town of Anambra State. The star actor is the only boy in the family of eight children.

He started is primary school education in Gabon, which is his birth land. However, on relocation to Nigeria, he had to complete his secondary school education at Federal Government College Kwali, Abuja. Having finished his secondary education, he studied at the University of Jos, Plateau State where he obtained a diploma in Banking and Finance and then a B. Sc in Philosophy.

James Ikeckukwu Esomugha made his debut in the industry in the year 2001. Jim’s appearance came in the year 2002 in a movie titled “one dollar”. This movie has been acclaimed as one of the most commercially successful comic Nigeria movies.  Ever since then, Jim has featured in over 150 movies. He started his movie production company, “Untamed Production” in 2007. After a few years, he also launched his music label, “Untamed Records”. Jim Iyke popular song from his first album is titled “Who Am I?” and he featured Nigeria’s top musicians such as Tuface Idibia and Sound Sultan. Iyke has featured in the movies “Between kings and Queens”, “Then There Was You”, “Last Flight to Abuja”, “Palace War” and “The Mechanic Who Is The Man”. Jim Iyke as a film producer has produced a couple of movies in London, staring international actresses such as  Tangerine Martins and Judy Shekoni. He also starred in video Beyonce and Rihanna in the year 2008.

The Nigeria Veteran actor was involved in a controversial deliverance at the Synagogue, Church of All Nations led by Pastor T.B Joshua which went viral on social media and got people talking.


The Nigerian star has been in a quite number of high profile relationships. He is currently involved with a young lawyer named “Dana Kinduryte” from Lithuania. Dana, a Law graduate hails from Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania, and lived with the famous actor at his apartment in Atlanta, USA. He took to his Instagram page to announce the birth of his son Harvis Chidubem Iyke in April 2019. Jim Iyke described his baby mama as an ultra-private person who avoids public as much as possible. He is also the founder of Jim Iyke Foundation for Children with Special Disabilities. He holds a black belt in taekwondo.


Jim Iyke is currently one of the most famous and richest Nollywood actors with a Net worth of 8 million USD

Chidi Mokeme


Chidi Mokeme is a popular Nollywood actor. He is a model, investor, and television host. The veteran actor is regarded as one of the most celebrated and respected actors in Nollywood today as a result of his immense contribution to the growth of the Nigeria film industry.

Chidi Mokeme was born on the 17th of March 1972 in Anambra State the southeastern part of Nigeria and he is currently 47 years old. The Nigeria veteran actor attended Salvation Army Primary School, Surulere Lagos, Nigeria for his primary school education. Having finished his primary school education he later proceeded to Federal Government College, Minna, Niger State in the northern part of Nigeria.  Although, during his secondary school education, he used to act in secondary school stage play.

Having done with his Secondary school education, he gained admission into the Institute of Management and Technology (MIT), Enugu where he graduated successfully with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Computer Science.

He started his modeling career in 1988 and he also represented some brands such as Telecommunications Company called “Zodaphone” before he now joined Nollywood in the Year 2003. Chidi Mokeme attained massive success when he anchored the first two editions of the Gulder Ultimate Search Talent Hunt Show. Chidi is not just an actor, but he is also currently a reality show host.

The veteran Nollywood actor has bagged himself a couple of awards including several nominations. He won awards of the Most Prominent Actor in Nigeria at the African Movie Academy Awards and Best Actor in Nigeria in a Leading Role at the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards. He has starred in over 100 Nollywood movies the likes of “Critical Condition”, “Fire Dance”, “His Excellency”, and “Abuja Connection” just to mention a few.


Chidi Mokeme got married to Jean Lumba Mokeme on the 28th of April, 2012 at Our Saviours’Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos. Chidi’s wife is a Nigerian but she was born and brought up in the United State. Jean Lumba Mokeme is a pharmacist and a medical doctor practicing in the United States of America where she resides presently. The couples are blessed with two amazing children namely: Daniel Mokeme and Noah Mokeme.

Chidi Mokeme is a multitalented Nigeria actor and he has starred in a couple of Yoruba movies. He can speak Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba. He always regards himself as a full-time, Nigerian man. Chidi is currently a GLO brand ambassador and he was once a brand ambassador of a telecommunication company called “Zodaphone”.


Chidi Mokeme is currently one of the most influential and richest Nollywood actors with a net worth of 7 million USD.


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