‘Unchained Vibes Africa, organisers of Freedom Vibes Series, believe that blaming crimes on Nollywood movies, is nothing other than a new tactic and an obvious excuse to justify tougher censorship that can cover up for government’s inability to tackle the alarming crime rate and general insecurity in the country which are exposed in Nollywood movies’
THE artistic community and civil society actors in Nigeria will again convene at the Freedom Park in Lagos this Saturday, March 26, 2022, for the fourth edition of Freedom Vibes Series, tagged Freedom Vibes 4.0. Stakeholders will address the plan by Nigerian authorities to enforce a new censorship policy that threatens filmmakers’ right to exercise their freedom of expression in telling stories inspired by happenings and realities in the country.
Freedom Vibes 4.0 with the theme Not Nolly: Asserting Filmmakers’ Artistic Freedom, is aimed at ramping up public support for the movie industry in seeking reforms that will accord the guilds and associations the responsibility of regulating their industry professionally as opposed to the ongoing politically motivated regulation by censors boards whose statutory responsibilities should be limited to film classification in line with international best practices. It is expected that the outcome of the March 26 event will help practitioners to be better prepared for engagement on these issues with government officials in a censorship summit to be organized by Unchained Vibes Africa at the end of April 2022.
Conversations, performances and artistic showcases at Freedom Vibes 4.0 will focus on the recent blame of ritual killings on Nollywood movies as well as the calls for censorship. In recent times, there have been rising cases of ritual killings in Nigeria involving young people. It will be recalled that on January 29, 2022, a girl was reportedly murdered for money ritual by her teenage boyfriend and three others in Abeokuta, Ogun State. While parading the criminals, the State’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, made some comments about Nollywood movies, alleging that some criminals had claimed they learnt the acts from movie scenes. Subsequently, the House of Representatives, while passing a resolution declaring a national emergency on ritual killings, blamed Nollywood movies. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, reportedly said that most of the recent ritual killings for money were influenced by some Nollywood films. He then directed the National Film and Video Censorship Board (NFVCB) to enforce a policy that would restrict filmmakers from releasing movies with money ritual content.
Unchained Vibes Africa, organizers of Freedom Vibes Series, believe that blaming crimes on Nollywood movies, is nothing other than a new tactic and an obvious excuse to justify tougher censorship that can cover up for government’s inability to tackle the alarming crime rate and general insecurity in the country which are exposed in Nollywood movies. If there are genuine concerns about the influence of Nollywood movies on national security, Unchained Vibes believes that moral suasion, policy dialogue and constructive criticisms will help filmmakers improve their content. However, the Minister’s directive to the National Film and Videos Censors Board (NFVCB) does not suggest so; it appears like an attempt to gag and dictate to filmmakers the type of story they can tell. This is a threat to filmmakers’ freedom of expression which is inappropriate in a democracy.
The fourth edition of Freedom Vibes will feature veteran Nollywood actors, including the matriarchal Dame Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, OON, Norbert Young, Jide Kosoko and Francis Onwochei in a panel session moderated by culture curator and advocate Jahman Anikulapo.
There will be messages from the National President of the Directors’ Guild of Nigeria (DGN) Victor Okhai; National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria(AGN) Ejezie Emeka Rollas; National President of Association of Nigeria Movie Directors (ANMD) Kenneth Ibeanusi; National President of the Association of Movie Practitioners (AMPRAC) Ifeanyi Azodo; National President of Creative Designers Guild of Nigeria (CDGN) Sele O. Sele; National Secretary of Cinematographers Society of Nigeria (CSN) Emmanuel Nwosu Chimobi; National President of the Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP); Israel Eboh Itah; National President of Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) Patrick Lee; the Executive Director, Abuja International Film Festival Fidelis Duker and other key stakeholders.
Kola Alapinni, a lawyer with expertise in international human rights law, will provide legal analysis on freedom of expression as a fundamental human right and how it is applicable to filmmakers.
Attendees will experience the beauty of conscious music with B-Meri Aboki, the Lagos born award-winning Hausa pop artist and Muyen, the Nigerian singer currently on international collaboration with Chicago based Urbanized Music. DJ Valentino will join the duo to light up the stage.
A drama titled Not Nolly will be performed by the Crown Troupe of Africa, directed by Segun Adefila, to showcase the event’s theme. The event will be anchored by Nollywood actor Sam Uche Anyamele.
Freedom Vibes Series is an integral part of Defending Democracy Vibes program supported by National Endowment for Democracy (NED) USA, Freedom Park Lagos, African Defenders Network, PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection, World Movement for Democracy, Lakreem Entertainment, Culture Advocates Caucus and Centre for Creative Arts Education (CREATE).
About the organization
Unchained Vibes Africa is a cultural organization and social enterprise committed to developing arts and culture projects geared towards social causes. Our mission is to leverage the power of the arts to promote civic education, human rights, cultural diversity and the spirit of solidarity in Africa.
For more information about Unchained Vibes Africa, please visit our website www.unchainedvibesafrica.com