June 14, 2024
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No anti-creativity provisions in regulations on smoking, rituals, says DG, Husseini

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  • June 3, 2024
  • 4 min read
No anti-creativity provisions in regulations on smoking, rituals, says DG, Husseini

By Editor

THE National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has said the new regulations on smoking, tobacco products and money rituals and ritual killings in movies will not stifle artistic creativity in the entertainment industry. NFVCB’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Shaibu Husseini stated this in Lagos on Sunday, June 2, 2024, at a parley with editors and other senior journalists.

Husseini explained that the regulations permit producers to, where absolutely necessary, depict smoking scenes in movies, music videos and skits, especially for reasons of artistic expression and historical accuracy. He, however, said such scenes must neither glamourise tobacco or tobacco products nor have been sponsored by the tobacco industry, as has become noticeable in recent times.

On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, the NFVCB disclosed that the Minister of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, had approved the “Prohibition of Money Ritual, Ritual Killing, Tobacco, Tobacco Product, Nicotine Product Promotion, Glamorization, Display in Movies, Musical Videos and Skits” Regulations 2024. The event was at a national stakeholders’ engagement on the “Smoke-Free Nollywood” campaign organised in collaboration with Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA). The Regulations 2024 is now awaiting gazetting by the Federal Government.

Dr. Husseini said: “I really need us to understand this: I did not ban smoking scenes. I did not ban ritual scenes. There are aspects of our culture that you need to display. But what we are saying is that if you have to display these necessary scenes, for historical accuracy, for educational purposes and, of course, to correct a negative lifestyle, you must warn people that these things are not real, that it is not a lifestyle to emulate. I’m telling you today that the regulation is not self-serving. I’m also telling you today that there is nothing anti-creativity about that Regulation; there is nothing about suppression of creativity in that Regulation.”

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Executive Director/CEO of NFVCB, Dr. Shaibu Husseini

The newly appointed Executive Director noted that he was, himself, a performing artiste, adding that he “cannot be on the Censors Board as an artiste and also suppress creativity.” He disclosed that work was in progress to change the National Film and Video Censors Board to a National Film and Video “Classification” Board, which is the preferred nomenclature world wide rather than censorship that may seem draconian.

He added: “I commit to a Censors Board that will move completely from censorship to classification. I commit to a Censors Board that will move from the present analogue stage of classification to a digitised stage. I commit to a Censors Board that will commit itself to be responsive to society and responsive to stakeholders and, of course, the Federal Government that set it up.”

He commended CAPPA for supporting the NFVCB in its drive to sanitise audiovisual products in the country. CAPPA’s Executive Director Akinbode Oluwafemi emphasised the importance of the National Stakeholders Engagement in Enugu, referencing the unveiling of the Regulations 2024 and the Code of Practice, voluntarily signed by no fewer than 51 Nollywood stakeholders.

Oluwafemi said: “One very important thing happened in Enugu that was not given wide publicity. There was also another document called the Code of Practice. The Code of Practice is intended as a voluntary commitment by movie stakeholders to say ‘We are pledging that we will comply with the intent and spirit of Smoke-Free Nollywood.

“I’m happy to report to you that at that event about 51 major movie practitioners and associations in Nigeria signed that Code of Practice and we have their signatures documented. It included all the professional bodies in the movie industry. They were all in the room and pledged commitment to the Regulations.”

In-Country Coordinator of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Michael Olaniyan, noted that the Regulations contain exceptions that allow the depiction of smoking in movies, but such movies must have health warnings.

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