Nollywood, the silent tutor

OHDB gun hand
Image: Over her dead body movie

The impact of Nollywood on Nigerian youths has been a thing of concern and uneasiness to me, especially with the recent news of a 23-year- old young man arrested for abducting a six-year-old boy, claiming that he was influenced by Zubby Michael’s movie roles to venture into kidnapping.

As a consequence, much fear looms in the area of traditional values and culture of the Nigerian society; even though most people might be quick to dismiss such with reason that the movies are merely for entertainment and as such does and should not raise any pertinent moral questions.

However, the fact remains that the settings, plots and messages from Nollywood movies have significant impact on the lifestyle and behaviour of Nigerians, especially the youths.
The effect of Nollywood movies could be seen in different ways ranging from presenting model of behavior for the viewers, information to viewers that extend far beyond one’s personal experience or environment and lastly to suggesting appropriate values and ideas for a particular position among others.

The prevalence of cultism, armed robbery, kidnapping, violence, occultism, materialism etc. in the Nigerian society could be linked to the influences of bad movies. Since children and youths are affected by what they watch on audio-visual media such as television and movies, it is therefore, in line to say that gangsterism migrate into the minds and lives of young people through the mass media and in this case, Nollywood movies.

Indeed, Nollywood movies have become a silent tutor in many homes. It has turned into a subtle platform where young minds are defiled and besmirched, through extremely violent movies, crime scenes, and uncensored display of sexual perversion. Practices such as these are glamorously portrayed in Nollywood movies; and most young people do not border about the repercussions of such which usually comes at the end of the movies.

The early Nollywood movie stories emphasized, to a great extent, the African culture and history and to some extent morality; and were united by popular themes such as love, marriage, political instability and unemployment. Film-makers produced clusters of movies based on those themes until the trend changed and new storylines took the place of the old.

Today, the popular themes of Nollywood movies include rituals, robbery, occultism, kidnapping, hired killing, cultism, affluence and illicit wealth. And the portrayal of these negative themes is often much more graphic and sadistic.

Explicit pictures of robbery scenes, slashing human throat in human sacrifice, robbery gangs breaking into banks and getting away with their loots, gangs breaking into prison to release their gang members, gang members pounding human flesh in mortar as a ritual to acquire power, husband watch fellow cult members kill and drink wife’s blood, etc.
Such storylines in movies have become sought of a regular on the Nigerian movies and has continued to gain more acceptance by producers and directors.

I do not dispute the fact that Nollywood movies is also beneficial to learning and development process, and as a matter of fact, goes a long way in socializing individuals by helping them blend more easily into the society due to the amount of information passed on through well coordinated contents and storylines.

There is no doubt that there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from these movies where happenings in contemporary Nigerian society are played out and highlighted through entertainment, education and information but the way most Nollywood professionals go about portraying these happenings in their movies leave much to be desired.

With the news of 23-year-old Ayobamidele Kudus Ayodele who confessed to have trained himself in the art of kidnapping by merely watching Nollywood movies despite his good home training, it therefore appears sensible to conclude that exposing youths to portrayal of gangsterism in Nollywood movies is unhealthy and therefore requires the immediate attention of all concerned.

Written by
Ezinwanne Onwuka
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