NTCA Nigeria

NTCA, CAPPA Partner NFVCB on Smoke-Free Movies

By Paul Ashibel

The quest to protect viewers, especially young viewers from the glamourization of smoking in movies received a boost on Monday, 18th March 2024, when Mr. Akinbode Olwafemi, Chairman of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) and Executive Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), led members of the tobacco control community on an advocacy visit to the newly appointed Director General of the National Film and Video Censors’ Borad, Dr. Shaibu Husseini, at the Board’s headquarters in Abuja. The community of tobacco control advocates was received by the Director General and members of his management staff.

In his introductory remarks, Akinbode congratulated the Director General on his deserved appointment. He told the board that every year, tobacco kills over 8 million people globally, and in Nigeria, tobacco use is linked to a high number of non-communicable diseases and deaths. He added that in the country’s efforts to control the use of tobacco and reduce its destructive health impact, Nigeria had ratified its membership to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world’s first global health treaty negotiated under the WHO. Continuing, he said Nigeria demonstrated commitment by further enacting the National Tobacco Control Act (NTC Act) in 2015, followed by the implementing Regulations approved in 2019, with substantial provisions prohibiting smoking in movies.

Akinbode also said the process had kickstarted to bring about regulations for the implementation of relevant provisions of the NTC Act to ensure smoke-free movies and extended a hand of partnership to the DG and his team.

Building on comments by Akinbode, Mr. Michael Olaniyan, In-Country Coordinator, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), while speaking on related laws gave an example of actors smoking on set as a violation of the NTC Act which prohibits smoking in workspaces. He also drew the attention of the board to newer tobacco products, such e-cigarettes and vapes promoted in movies, which without careful notice would be missed. The Associate Director, Capacity Strengthening, CTFK, Mrs. Hilda Ochefu, praised the robust relationship between the tobacco control community and the board over time and stressed that the train was already underway towards a smoke-free Nollywood, and the advocates are ready and willing to hold hands with the board to protect viewers from harmful content. Speaking last from the delegation, Dr. Olayinka Oyegbile, a Communications Consultant with CAPPA, expressed confidence in the capabilities of the Director General to bring about a smoke-free Nollywood citing his long service and dedication to the development of the creative sector in Nigeria.

Responding, Dr. Husseini said as a professional he is aware that sometimes there’s no link between tobacco use and the scene it is used in. He further agreed that there is unnecessary glamourization of smoking in movies. The DG also said he is actively willing to work with stakeholders, including producers, scriptwriters, directors, and an organized body of skit makers to do what is necessary to birth zero smoking in movies and music videos.

Some tobacco control advocates also present were Chibuike Nwokorie and Paul Ashibel from the NTCA. Others were Sarah Ekwale; Abayomi Sarumi; Seconder Dodo, Shade Oyelade; and Anjola Fatuase from CAPPA.

More photos from the meeting


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