There have been growing concerns over the involvement of young Nigerians in ritual killings.
Most reactions stemmed from the recent killing of a girl identified as Rofiat by her teenage boyfriend and three others at the Oke Aregba area of Abeokuta in Ogun State on January 30.
Concerned about the ugly trend, on February 9, the House of Representatives resolved to declare a national emergency on ritual killings in Nigeria.
The House noted that while citizens of other countries are embracing science and technology, Nigerian youths are turning to ritual killings.
Similarly, on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, directed the National Film and Video Censorship Board (NFVCB) to censor Nollywood movies to eschew money ritual content.
Rather than blame Nollywood or social media for the development, the NFVCB boss, Thomas Adebayo, told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that Nigerian parents are responsible for the increase in ritual killings in the country.
Mr Adebayo stated that taking responsibility for censoring and classifying the films and videos thrown to the public is chiefly the job of the NFVCB while the parents and guardians are the chief custodians of what their children watch.
He said: “ Movies are the reflection of the image of the society, and as a reflection of the society, they depict what happens in the society and how the society responds to ills which are educative for a particular level of people.
“Such movies are classified 18 and above. It is rated 18 because the younger ones might not be able to conceive the entire idea reflected in the movie as much as an adult. Some movies are for educational purposes, they serve as a deterrent from crimes and social vices.”
Furthermore, the NFVCB boss stated that Nollywood alone should not be blamed for the issue of the projection of ritual killings, “it is a total blame for all of us” he said.
“Majority have thrown their parental duties to the government, the government is not going to start training your child or monitor his or her behaviour. It is a grassroots and foundational problem. When the foundation is wrong, there is likely going to be a very terrible side effect of it.”
Mr Adebayo also said the Censors Board would not glorify or approve any movie that celebrates ritual killings and other illicit acts and behaviour in society.
“The parents and guardians must monitor the kind of films their children are watching. We as a board will not glorify or approve a film that celebrates rituals and ills in society.
“We must equally look at the vital and inevitable roles of parents in censoring what their children watch also on YouTube and other online channels, which is far beyond our control.
Most movies and video content on YouTube and social media are not classified and are not censored.”
He also complained that some of these movies are beyond the NFVCB’s jurisdiction, therefore making censorship of some content unrealistic. “For example, if Ghana releases a film that celebrates illicit behaviour and ritual killings which are not censored with us nor classified with us, the parents must seep in,” he said.
Mr Adebayo also said NFVCB rejects several movies daily for various reasons.
He said they disapprove of films that either threaten various religious ideologies in Nigeria.
He said: “We have turned down several movies that have religious inclinations, some movies are like total blackmail. Some are against certain beliefs, like the Catholics, other movie content projects Islam as a terrorist group.”
Mr Adebayo also noted that as a measure to facilitate censorship, the NFVCB always consulted relevant authorities, for fact-checking.
He recounted that on several occasions the Minister of Information and Culture had headed several panels to regulate and classify several video content.
He also noted that in a bid to censor some movies, the NFVCB also works with some professional bodies in the entertainment industry.
He added that the board would not approve anyone who is not a member of a professional body, like the AGN, DGN, and other relevant bodies.
While highlighting the need for other stakeholders aside from NFVCB and Nollywood to engage in censoring, he said religious leaders, school authorities, and other relevant authorities must teach Nigerian youths values.
He called on clergymen to emphasise the ills of ritual and other social vices. Mr Adebayo also implored schools to intensify programs in their curriculum that promote national values.