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Lift Ban on ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, HURIWA tells Jonathan

By News Express on 29/05/2014

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As the nation celebrates the 2014 Democracy Day, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to lift the suspension imposed on the new film adaptation of Half of a Yellow Sun.

The rights group said the failure of the Federal Government to allow Nigerians enjoy the freedom to watch the creative work of a vastly talented Nigerian, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, on very nebulous, myopic and incoherent excuses offered by the Nigerian Films and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) in Abuja, is the greatest breach of the democratic and fundamental human rights, which are universal, inalienable and sacrosanct.

The film adaptation of Half of a Yellow Sun, a book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, was directed by the Nigerian-born, but United Kingdom-based movie director, Mr. Biyi Bandele Thomas, has been shown on international movie screens in New York, Toronto, Canada; The United Kingdom and several other international venues.

HURIWA recalled that the Half of a Yellow Sun has reportedly suspended the showing of the preview of the movie in Nigerian cities, citing the “uncertainties of our contemporary times in Nigeria”, which not unrelated to the state of insecurity across the nation. 

The democracy-inclined non-governmental organisation, dismissed the suspension of the broadcasting of  the film adaptation in Nigeria as primitive, unconstitutional, illegal and highly anti-intellectual, and asked President Jonathan to apologise for this show of shame by the director-general of the censors board.

HURIWA, in the statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, reminded the Federal Government that the Constitution allows for right to freedom of expression and the press, and that it is unwise to deny Nigerians resident within the country the right to view the entire movie of Half of a Yellow Sun, when the rest of the world have already started pouring encomiums for the unprecedented creativity that the film adaptation of an important period of Nigeria’s political history represents.     

The statement noted: “In the strongest possible term, we condemn and reject the inexcusable suspension of the broadcast in Nigerian cities of the newly introduced Half of a Yellow Sun movie. This draconian directive from the Nigerian films and Censors Board is an attempt to deny the historicity of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War and, by so doing, significantly annulling the constitutional right guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and importantly section 39(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which unambiguously provides that, ‘every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.” 

HURIWA said the retrogressive and reactionary measure of suspending and or directing the producers of Half of a Yellow Sun to delete aspects of the movie, as a condition precedent before certification could be issued to show it in Nigeria, amounted to “genocide denial” reminiscent of dictatorial regimes and, therefore, remains undemocratic and non-civil. HURIWA, therefore, asked the Federal Government to reverse this decision immediately.

Besides, HURIWA warned government agencies not to create the impression that Nigeria still lives in the medieval dark ages, since the film that has already being viewed around the world is being withheld by an agency of the Nigerian government for non-justifiable reason other than the official apprehension about the truth. 

•Photo shows a scene from ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’.

Source News Express

Posted 30/05/2014 01:14:51 AM





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