Veteran actor Kanayo O. Kanayo and music icon Mike Okri have criticized the Federal Government’s recent prohibition of smoking and the glamorization of money rituals and killings in Nigerian films, skits, and music videos, describing the move as a ‘joke.’

On Wednesday, Dr. Shaibu Husseini, the Executive Director/CEO of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), announced the approval of the “Prohibition of Money Ritual, Ritual Killing, Tobacco, Tobacco Product, Nicotine Product Promotion, Glamorization, Display in Movies, Musical Videos, and Skits” regulation. This decision was made pursuant to Section 65 of the NFVCB Act 2004. Husseini made the announcement during a National Stakeholders Engagement on Smoke-Free Nollywood, held in partnership with Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) in Enugu.

Reacting to the development, veteran musician Mike Okri dismissed the government’s action as a joke and suggested it was an attempt to silence the movie industry. “Whoever is behind this from the FG is joking. It’s a way to silence the movie industry. They should focus on the real challenges facing the country,” Okri stated.

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Similarly, popular actor Kanayo O. Kanayo described the move as ‘sensible nonsense.’ He criticized the Honourable Minister of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Barrister Hannatu Musa Musawa, for approving the regulation, suggesting it was an attempt to gag filmmakers.

Dr. Husseini emphasized that the NFVCB continues to prioritize the progress of the film industry by ensuring that films, music videos, and skits are free from the depiction and glamorization of harmful substances like tobacco, violence, criminal acts, immoral acts, ritual killings, and money rituals.

“Today, we are facing an industry emergency requiring bold and ambitious actions from all of us as parents, guardians, and stakeholders,” Husseini stated. He explained that after a series of engagements, the NFVCB, in collaboration with CAPPA, decided to implement Subsidiary Regulations to address smoking in movies, as this aspect was not explicitly covered in the existing law.