Responding to a recent petition by a rights group, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has banned a viral Yoruba movie “OSUWON MI”.
The film, which premiered on YouTube in October 2022, tells the story of a young man obsessed with married women, who resents her constant acts of fornication.
The movie was produced by Bola Obanla and starred famous actors including Yomi Fash Lanso, Kemi Afolabi, Ibrahim Yekini and Adebayo Salami in the lead roles.
The Ta’awunu Human Rights Initiative (THURIST) petitioned the censor board on 6 December 2022, alleging that “the film desecrated the sanctity of Muslim women by maliciously using the veil of Muslim women in the film”.
Nigeria’s board responsible for censoring and classifying films and videos has cracked down on the film and threatened to punish the producers for breaking the law.
The Executive Director of the NFVCB, Adedayo Thomas, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that the board did not censor or classify the movie and that the couple, Obanla and Afolabi, broke the law.
Afolabi, who portrayed a veiled Muslim woman in the film, now lives in the US, where she is being treated by doctors. due to an autoimmune disease, Lupus.
Explaining their violations, Mr. Thomas said: “The film was not censored, it was not classified, it was not brought to us, so it was the applicant who informed us about it, and we found out that it was true.”
He stated that the producers had released the film on YouTube, and had taken steps to remove it. “They posted it on YouTube, and we (YouTube) wrote to them to take it down.”
He said the board would take action when a film did not meet the censor requirements.
“Online is a distribution channel. You don’t distribute a film without censoring or classifying it.’
According to the documents released by the council, it vowed to take strict action on the matter because the producer and actor did not comply with the legal requirements.
While stating that appropriate steps are being taken to withdraw the film, the commission stated that the film’s producer and lead actor would be punished as an example to others.
“Producer Bisi Obanla and actress Kemi Afolabi will be punished as a deterrent; Strict measures are being taken to remove the film from all streaming platforms and circulation.
“The film OSUWON MI was not censored or classified by the National Films and Video censor board,” he added.
The document reiterates a commission standard not to allow religious discrimination in films.
“The National Board of Film and Video Censors will not accept any film that makes fun of any religion or that has the potential to incite religious discrimination and violence,” the board said.
The film has been removed from the YouTube streaming platform.
However, many bloggers have already got the movie and downloaded it. They have uploaded it to their blogs; so the film is still in circulation.
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