Dr. Shaibu Husseini, the Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), has addressed the recent reports claiming that the Federal Government had approved a ban on depictions of money rituals and smoking in Nigerian films.

Speaking at a national stakeholders engagement on smoke-free Nollywood in Enugu, an event organized in collaboration with Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Dr. Husseini clarified the situation.

“I did not announce a ban on smoking and ritual scenes in movies at the southeast zone stakeholders engagement on a healthy screen and the campaign to have a smoke-free Nollywood. No, I didn’t,” Dr. Husseini stated.

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He explained that he referenced the NFVCB Regulations 2024, which align with global best practices and prohibit the promotion and glamorization of money rituals, ritual killings, tobacco, and nicotine products in movies, music videos, and skits. The regulation aims to discourage the unnecessary depiction, promotion, advertisement, or glamorization of these products.

“The regulation demands the display of a health warning for necessary smoking scenes required for historical accuracy or educational purposes and to depict a negative lifestyle in movies, music videos, and skits. The required health warning shall be displayed at the commencement of the work and at the end,” he added. Dr. Husseini assured that the NFVCB would not implement any policy that would stifle creativity.

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He further explained, “Any movie, skit, or musical video that displays or depicts tobacco or nicotine products, brands, or use that is necessary to the realization of a narrative shall be given the appropriate classification (rating) and shall not be shown to persons below the age of 18.”

Supporting Dr. Husseini’s clarification, former President of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCOP), Comrade Alex Eyengho, confirmed that the conversation at the stakeholders’ engagement was about the existence of laws guiding the portrayal of smoking tobacco and glorifying money rituals in Nollywood films, skits, and music videos.

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“Dr. Shaibu Husseini did not at any time announce an outright ban of tobacco smoking and money ritual themes in Nollywood. I was at the event in Enugu where he allegedly made this announcement, and I can say with all sense of responsibility that he made no such statement. Husseini made it clear that he would continue to engage stakeholders in the industry on this and other matters, even as he pointed out that he would focus more on the classification of films and not censorship. I am also against glamorizing tobacco smoking, money rituals, and other forms of rituals in our films as if it is the norm in our society,” Eyengho stated.