Nollywood: Mixed Reactions to FG’s Ban on Smoking and Ritual Scenes

The Federal Government’s move to enforce the prohibition of money rituals, ritual killings, smoking, and glamourizing such vices in Nigerian films has sparked a debate among stakeholders in the Nollywood industry. The announcement was made by the Executive Director/CEO of the National Film and Video Censors Board, Dr. Shaibu Husseini, during a stakeholders’ engagement in Enugu.

In response to the government’s decision, some industry practitioners have expressed support for the ban, citing the need to promote positive health messages and deter negative influences on young viewers. However, others have raised concerns about the impact on artistic expression and personal liberty.

Veteran actor Bob Manuel Udokwu emphasized the importance of responsible storytelling and classification of content, while actress Jennifer Obodo questioned the government’s priorities amidst other pressing issues in the country. On the other hand, Nollywood actress Ngozi Eze Evuka called for a focus on educating viewers about the fictional nature of movies rather than imposing bans.

Nelson Bright supported the ban as a step towards combating human trafficking and illegal organ harvesting but also highlighted potential drawbacks such as limitations on artistic freedom and international competitiveness. Meanwhile, Don Sylvester Nweke suggested a focus on ratings and ensuring that films featuring smoking or ritual acts depict negative consequences to discourage such behavior.

As the debate continues, stakeholders in the Nollywood industry are calling for a balanced approach that addresses societal concerns while preserving creative expression and freedom of choice. The discussion underscores the complexity of regulating content in a diverse and evolving industry.