The author of Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Adichie, has accused Nigeria of denial in relation to the events of the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War.
Ms. Adichie, in an article for The New Yorker questioned why the movie based on her critically acclaimed book has been delayed for release in Nigeria.
“Nigerian government censors delayed the release of the film adaptation of “Half of a Yellow Sun” because, according to them, it might incite violence in the country; at issue in particular is a scene based on a historically documented massacre at a northern Nigerian airport,” Ms. Adichie wrote in The New Yorker, an American literary magazine.
She revealed that the Board had left it up to the Nigeria State Security Service to decide whether the movie will be released or not.
“I find this absurd – security operatives, uniformed and alert, gathered in a room watching a romantic film – but the censors’ action is more disappointing than surprising, because it is part of a larger Nigerian political culture that is steeped in denial, in looking away,” Ms. Adichie said.
Although she conceded that the Board’s decision was not totally unreasonable considering the current security situation in Nigeria, she however insisted, “But we cannot hide from our history. Many of Nigeria’s present problems are, arguably, consequences of an ahistorical culture.”
Caesar Kagho, the Acting Head, Corporate Affairs of NFVCB, on April 28, explaining why the movie had been delayed said that the management of the NFVCB was ensuring that some unresolved issues in the movie were sorted out in accordance with the laid down regulations of the board. He did not, however, state the ‘unresolved issues.’
“Nigerians are sophisticated consumers of culture and, had the censorship board not politicised the film by delaying its release, I suspect that few people would have objected to it at all,” Ms. Adichie wrote.
Popular Nigerian actor, Segun Arinze, has called for the resignation of the Director -General of Nigeria Film and Video Censors Board, Patricia Bala, for failing to classify critically acclaimed movie, Half of a Yellow Sun.
In a statement, the actor said the movie, which the D-G saw during its premiere in Canada, should have been released in Nigeria.
“Please tell Madam Patricia Bala of Nigeria Film and Video Censors Board to release the movie Half of a Yellow Sun. She has no reason to hold on to the movie. She has no right to censor the movie only to classify it. She saw it in Canada and even partnered with the producers in Canada during the premiere.
“What she is doing now is an embarrassment to government and a big insult to our dear industry, Nollywood. We are not in a military regime. She should kindly resign,” Segun Arinze wrote.
The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) recently approved 43 movies for public viewing.
A statement issued in Abuja by the Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, Caesar Kagho, said 19 of the films were produced in English, 14 in Yoruba, seven in Hausa, two in Ibibio, and one in Bini language.
He said only one of the movies, The Return of Baby Oku in America, qualified to be placed under the Parental Guidance (PG) category.
Sixteen of the movies, Mr Kagho said, were classified for viewers under the 15 plus category as they had contents filled with strong language and violence. These include; Pretty Liar (English), A Thousand Kisses (English), First Cause (English), Woli Agba (Yoruba), Bebi Pu Lofa (Yoruba) and Ijoba Osekan (Yoruba).
Others are, Ruwan Zuma (Hausa), Bugun Abuja (Hausa), Da kaizan Gana (Hausa) and Ebun Akoko (Yoruba).
Mr Kagho said the remaining 26 movies had to be classified “18” as they contained very high levels of imitable techniques, fetish practices, strong language and drug abuse.
The film director spoke to CNN expressing surprise at the actions of censor board chairman who attended the premier in Toronto and commended the movie makers for a job well job.
The question IBPulse would like to ask is who is afraid of this movie?