Earlier reports suggesting a complete ban on smoking and depictions of money rituals in Nigerian films have been refuted by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).
Shaibu Husseini, the Executive Director of the NFVCB, clarified the Board’s position during a recent media engagement. He emphasized that the intention was not to stifle creativity, but rather to implement a more nuanced age-appropriate classification system.
In a statement released on Friday, Husseini said, “What I mentioned in a speech that I have shared here is the existence of a regulation (NFVCB Regulations 2024) that, in line with global best practices, prohibits the Promotion and glamourisation of Money Ritual, Ritual Killing, Tobacco, Tobacco product, Nicotine products in movies, musical videos and skits.
“The regulation aims at discouraging the ‘unnecessary’ depiction, promotion, advertisement, or glamourisation of tobacco or nicotine products in movies, musical videos, and skits. The regulation demands the display of a health warning for necessary smoking scenes that are required for historical accuracy or educational purposes and to depict a negative lifestyle in movies, musical videos, and skits. The required health warning shall be displayed at the commencement of the work and the end.”
READ ALSO:Nigerian govt bans money rituals, smoking, other vices in films, skits
Here’s the Breakdown:
• Scenes depicting smoking and rituals will not be automatically banned.
• Films containing such content will be classified accordingly.
• Movies with smoking or rituals deemed unsuitable for younger audiences will likely receive an 18+ rating, restricting their viewership.
What This Means:
This move signifies a shift from a potential outright ban to a stricter content classification system. Films will still be able to explore these themes, but the Board ensures such content reaches only mature audiences.
Possible Reasons for the Shift:
• Protecting Children: Age-appropriate classification safeguards children from exposure to potentially harmful content.
• Balancing Creativity and Public Health: The Board aims to strike a balance between artistic expression and promoting public health concerns regarding smoking.
• Controversy Surrounding the Ban: Initial reports of a complete ban sparked criticism from some filmmakers who viewed it as censorship.
The effectiveness of this new classification system will depend on its implementation. Clear guidelines for content classification and consistent enforcement will be crucial.
While some may view this as a compromise, it offers a solution that prioritizes both public concerns and artistic freedom within the Nigerian film industry.

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