The National Film and Video censors board (NFVCB) in response to a recent petition by a rights group, has banned a viral Yoruba movie ‘OSUWON MI’.
The movie, released in October 2022 on YouTube, tells the story of a young man obsessed with married women who goes on a rampage with his incessant fornicating act.
Bola Obanla produced the film, which starred famous actors, including Yomi Fash Lanso, Kemi Afolabi, Ibrahim Yekini and Adebayo Salami, in leading roles.
Ta’awunu Human Rights Initiative (THURIST) petitioned the censors board on the 6th of December, 2022, alleging that the “film desecrated the sanctity of women in purdah by maliciously using the Muslim women’s veil in the movie”.
The board, tasked with the responsibility of censoring and classifying films and videos in Nigeria, has clamped down on the film and threatened to sanction the producers for flouting the law.
The Executive Director of the NFVCB, Adedayo Thomas, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that the board did not censor nor classify the film and that the duo of Obanla and Afolabi broke the law.
Afolabi, who portrayed a veiled Muslim woman in the film, currently lives in the U.S., where doctors treat her for an autoimmune disease, Lupus.
Explaining their offences, Mr Thomas said: “The film was not censored, neither was it classified, it was not brought to us, so it was the petitioner that made us know about it, and we found out it was true”.
He stated that the producers released the movie on YouTube, and they had taken measures to take it down. “They posted it on Youtube, and we have written to them (YouTube) to take it down.”
He said the board would take action on any channel used when a film does not meet censorship requirements.
“Online is a distribution channel. You do not distribute a film without it being censored or classified.”
According to the documents released by the board, it vowed to take drastic measures on the matter as the producer and actress failed to meet its legal requirements.
While stating that appropriate action is being taken to withdraw the movie, the board also noted that the producer of the film and lead actress would be sanctioned as an example to others
“The producer Bisi Obanla and actress Kemi Afolabi will be sanctioned as a deterrence; drastic measures are being taken to pull down the movie from all streaming platforms and circulation..”
“The movie OSUWON MI was not censored nor classified by the National Films and Video censors board,” it added.
The document reiterates one of the board’s standards not to tolerate religious discrimination in movies.
“The National film and video censors board will not approve any movie that ridicules any religion nor has the potential to encourage religious discrimination and violence,” the board said.
The movie has been taken down from the Youtube streaming platform.
However, many bloggers have already got a hold of the movie and downloaded it. They have uploaded it on their blogs; so the film is still in circulation.
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