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Nigerian govt sanitises Nollywood, restricts smoking, money rituals, killings in movies, others

Stakeholders at the summit | Image: CAPPA

‘I am delighted to announce to you that the Honourable Minister of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Barrister Hannatu Musa Musawa, pursuant to Section 65 of the NFVCB Act 2004 has approved the ‘Prohibition of Money Ritual, Ritual Killing, Tobacco, Tobacco Product, Nicotine Product Promotion, Glamorization, Display in Movies, Musical Videos and Skits’ Regulations 2024’

By Valentine Amanze

The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) is set to sanitise the Nollywood by banning smoking, ritual killings and money rituals in movies, music videos and skits.

The NFVCB Executive Director, Dr. Shaibu Husseini, disclosed this at a National Stakeholders’ Engagement on the “#Smoke-Free Nollywood” campaign organised in Enugu in collaboration with Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) on Tuesday May 21, 2024.

Husseini said that the country was facing a film “industry emergency requiring bold and ambitious actions” from parents, guardians, and stakeholders.

His words: “After a series of engagements, the NFVCB, in collaboration with CAPPA, decided to make Subsidiary Regulations to address smoking in movies since this aspect was not expressly spelt out in the extant Law.

Also read: NFVCB, Tobacco Community meet, insist on smoke-free Nollywood

“Today (Tuesday), I am delighted to announce to you that the Honourable Minister of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Barrister Hannatu Musa Musawa, pursuant to Section 65 of the NFVCB Act 2004 has approved the ‘Prohibition of Money Ritual, Ritual Killing, Tobacco, Tobacco Product, Nicotine Product Promotion, Glamorization, Display in Movies, Musical Videos and Skits’ Regulations 2024.

“We have forwarded the approved copy to the Federal Ministry of Justice for Gazette.”

CAPPA boss, Akinbode Oluwafemi | File Image

Husseini pointed out that the goal was to eradicate smoking in movies and skits.

“We are going to be working with the industry to see how we achieve zero, completely smoke-free Nollywood,” he added.

He identified the tobacco industry’s tricks to promote smoking but expressed confidence that the government was prepared to counter them.

Hussein said: “Of recent, we realised that tobacco industries hide under the banner of entertainment to flaunt smoking. The NFVCB is well prepared to take leadership in this regard and has planned and begun implementing innovative ways to achieve its mandate, especially at this crucial time when the National Assembly is insisting that there is ‘Need to Curb the Rising Spate of Cultism, Trafficking, Consumption of Illicit Drugs and other Substances among Youths in Nigeria’.

“The Board had been urged to undertake detailed enlightenment programmes in secondary schools, tertiary institutions, local communities, faith groups and other institutions, as well as impose restrictions on home movies promoting social vices.”

Participants at the event included veteran and top filmmakers, producers, scriptwriters, marketers, and distributors from across the country, such as Zeb Ejiro, Fred Amata, Segun Arinze, Bolaji Amusan, and The Aneke Twins, as well as leaders of various guilds and associations in the Nigerian film industry.

They assured of their commitment to a pro-health Nollywood by signing a pledge to ensure a smoke-free Nollywood.

At the event, CAPPA’s Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, called on stakeholders to work towards a Smoke-Free Nollywood in the interest of a healthy future for Nigerian children.

Oluwafemi said: “Shockingly, studies have shown that smoking remains prevalent in Nigerian movies in contravention of the NTC Act and the Tobacco Control Regulations 2019, which explicitly prohibits tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships in movies and entertainment.

“There is also a clear provision for warnings that should accompany any tobacco depiction that is necessary for “Historical Accuracy and Artistic Expression”.

“With the power to tell the Nigerian story, shape our future, and build a genuinely productive society, Nollywood has a role to play in ensuring that the growing concerns of non-communicable diseases in Nigeria are addressed. There is a need to reverse the role movies and music videos play in painting smoking and tobacco use as a cool way of life.

“With more than five million young Nigerians aged 15 years addicted to smoking cigarettes, our job, not just as movie practitioners and industry experts but also as parents, is to rise to the occasion and act right to protect our children and prepare for a smoke-free future.

“We are at a point where we must stop the glamorisation of smoking and, instead, promote healthy lifestyles.”

In-Country Coordinator of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Michael Olaniyan, who delivered a presentation titled, “A Code of Practice for Smoking in the Entertainment and Plenary for Next Steps”, urged stakeholders to be careful not to breach the NTC Act while shooting movies.

He added that the Act demands the prohibition of avoidable/unnecessary smoking scenes, avoidable/unnecessary tobacco use of any kind, glamorisation of tobacco use, tobacco brand marking, tobacco product placements and sponsorship by tobacco companies, among others.

The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC)’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ali Nuhu, backed the move to rescue “vibrant and energetic youths from the claws of smoking-related and early health challenges.”

Nuhu, who was represented by the NFC’s Director, Public Affairs, Brian Etuk, lamented, “Most of our youths have become victims of circumstances having taken to smoking habits, with consequential health challenges and damage to body organs.

“We must, therefore, use the power of film/movie to help address the gradual but avoidable drifts that are ultimately life-threatening.”

Concurring, Enugu State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dame Ugochi Madueke, noted the “incredible influence” Nollywood holds over public perceptions and behaviours and urged film industry professionals to promote public health by making movies smoke-free.

Olawale Makanjuola, Alliance Coordinator for Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance, congratulated the NFVCB, adding: “We all know the role film, and most importantly, Nollywood, plays in our culture.  For us, there is no better partner than the NFVCB and the creative industry in ensuring that our screens remain smoke-free, thereby strengthening our public health infrastructures.”

valoa2000@yahoo.com

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