Recent allegations that the Federal Government has outlawed ritual and smoking scenes in Nollywood films and music videos have been clarified by Shaibu Husseini, the Executive Director of Nigeria’s National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).

During a stakeholder engagement in Enugu on Tuesday, coordinated in collaboration with Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) as part of the “#Smoke-Free Nollywood” campaign, Mr. Husseini addressed these concerns.

On Thursday, Mr. Husseini provided clarification, saying, “There have been headlines suggesting that the NFVCB is going to ban smoking and ritual scenes. However, there is no evidence in my speech to support these assertions.”

He explained that the NFVCB Regulations 2024 prohibit the promotion and glamorization of money rituals, ritual killings, and tobacco use in films, music videos, and plays.

“What I mentioned in my speech, which I have shared here, is the existence of a regulation (NFVCB Regulations 2024) that forbids the promotion and glamorization of money rituals, ritual killings, tobacco, tobacco products, and nicotine products in movies, music videos, and skits, in line with global best practices,” he wrote.

Mr. Husseini emphasized that health warnings must appear at the start and finish of any content that includes smoking sequences required for historical accuracy or educational purposes.

“The goal of the regulation is to discourage the unnecessary portrayal, endorsement, advertising, or glorification of tobacco or nicotine products in motion pictures, music videos, and skits,” he stated. “Content that portrays harmful lifestyles or includes smoking sequences for historical or educational purposes must carry a health warning at the beginning and end.”

He assured that the NFVCB does not intend to impede artistic expression but seeks to classify and provide appropriate ratings for entertainment featuring tobacco or nicotine products.

The official regulation will be released upon being gazetted, offering filmmakers precise guidelines.

“As a classification board, we want to assure you that we will not impose any policy that will constrain creativity,” he clarified. “However, we will provide an official position and cause the regulation to be published once it is gazetted.”

“Movies, skits, or music videos that feature tobacco or nicotine products, brands, or uses essential to storytelling must be appropriately rated and must not be viewed by anyone under 18 years old. Therefore, the ‘headlines’ are not accurate.”

By: Appianiamaa Mercy