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Mixed reactions trail Kano’s ban on movies showing kidnapping, other vices

It is on record that to ensure control and conformity to norms and values of the Hausa people Kano state...

Following the announcement made by the Kano Film Censorship Board, that henceforth showing or selling movies displaying kidnappings, drug addiction and snatching of GSM phones in the state is prohibited; various sectors have reacted to the announcement.

While others perceived the directives as ill-conceived some were of the view that the board’s action is timely.

It would be recalled that the Board Executive Secretary, Isma’ila Naaba Afakallah recently made the announcement stating that the prohibition became necessary, taking into consideration how the issues at stake have turned notorious and hunting the general public.

His words, “Henceforth, we will not allow films displaying Kidnappings, drug addiction and GSM phones snatching which has now taken a toll on Kano residents. Not every young man has the tenacity of understanding fictitious films’ actions. Somebody might mistake it as a reality and may go ahead to practice it, therefore, we must act now before it is too late,” he added.

It is on record that to ensure control and conformity to norms and values of the Hausa people Kano state government established a censorship board in March 2001 to regulate the Hausa filmmaking industry and other entertainment outlets.

However, under the watchful eyes of the board, the industry amidst a serious copyright and piracy crisis went through various transformations from video cassettes to CD, DVD and cinema. It was also gathered that with the coming of satellite TV stations specifically Farin Wata, Arewa24 and few others, the Hausa film making industry began to witness a serious setback in its market and no thanks to piracy as well.

Gradually the Hausa film industry became a shadow of its former self, then came the discovery of YouTube and through the use of the YouTube platform Kannywood film industry was able to be on its feet again. Actors and actresses began to have roles, and the usual bottlenecks of the Kano state censorship board were minimized.

It was amidst the industry’s struggle to get back to its feet that the ban by the state censorship board was announced. The ban came at a time when many believe that the filmmaking industry is undergoing a revolution that has entirely changed the industry’s outlook.

However, to some film analysts like Aminu Abba Hotoro, the ban is entirely ill-conceived because the censorship board lacks the jurisdiction to regulate the films that go on YouTube. He added that the ban can’t change anything; rather it will only create more issues for the board and the practitioners.

“We all know that the ban holds no water because Kannywood no longer produces home movies on DVDs or CDs. Does the Kano state censorship board have the jurisdiction to censor what goes on YouTube? For me, this will only create issues and not solve them,” he said.

Kannywood fan, Malama Binta Hamisu Baby, believes that the Kannywood industry is currently more visible on YouTube and other avenues of displaying films that the state censorship board cannot regulate. According to her there is a strong need for the review of the law that established the board.

“The board was established in 2001 and ever since the law establishing the board hasn’t been reviewed to capture all the new innovations the industry is faced with. With this, it is going to be difficult for the ban to be fully implemented taking into consideration the vast number of Kannywood films being watched on YouTube. I suggest the law should be reviewed,” she concluded.

However, for Baballe Maigari Hanga, the stand taken by the board is timely and the best. According to him, as a regulatory body, the state censorship board has the right to rectify what it deems fit to be rectified. “The ban is timely because what we are seeing is very disturbing and our society needs to be cleansed of all these social vices being promoted by these films. As a regulatory body, the censorship board has every responsibility to put a stop to it,” he said.