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District 9 movie draws anger of Nigerians; caricatures Obasanjo…

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A scene from Sony's District 9 which loads on Nigeria's image as a corruption zone. USAfricaonline.com

A scene from Sony's District 9 which loads on Nigeria's image as a corruption zone. USAfricaonline.com

District 9 movie draws anger of Nigerians; caricatures Obasanjo…

Sci-fi movie, Sony ad prompt Nigerian image angst
By Reuters/Camillus Eboh. Wed Sep 23, 2009
ABUJA (Reuters) – A blockbuster sci-fi movie which caricatures Nigerians as gangsters and cannibals and a Sony PlayStation advert which implies they are fraudsters have infuriated a government battling to improve the country’s image.

South African film “District 9,” which has topped the UK box office for two straight weeks and ranked in the top 10 in North America, is an allegory on segregation and xenophobia, with alien life forms cooped up in a township set in Johannesburg.

None of the groups shown comes out particularly well, but the Nigerians are portrayed as gangsters, cannibals, pimps and prostitutes, while their leader’s name is pronounced Obasanjo — the same as that of Nigeria’s former president.

Nigeria has banned cinemas from showing it.

“It is a Hollywood film, shot in South Africa and acted mainly by South Africans. We protested because it showed Nigeria in a very bad light,” Information Minister Dora Akunyili, who is spearheading a “rebranding Nigeria” campaign, told Reuters.

“There is no country that does not have prostitutes and criminals but definitely most countries don’t have cannibals, and we don’t have cannibals in this country. We don’t eat human flesh, it is definitely unacceptable,” she said.

Akunyili said the government had told the Nigerian Film and Video Censor Board to ensure “District 9” was no longer shown in movie theatres and to confiscate copies. It had also written to the producers telling them to edit out references to Nigeria.

“GOOD PEOPLE, GREAT NATION”

“We do not encourage censorship or government forcibly prescribing actions that infringe upon a consumer’s right to choose,” said Roy Murray Bruce, president of Silverbird Group, which owns one of the country’s main cinema chains.

“However in this instance, Silverbird is fully behind the censorship board’s ban on the movie because of its demeaning, crass and offensive misrepresentation of Nigeria and Nigerians.”

The controversy comes as Africa’s most populous nation seeks to shrug off its image as an epicenter of corruption, epitomized by “419” email fraudsters named after the article in Nigeria’s penal code that deals with advance fee fraud.

In March, the government launched a rebranding campaign with the slogan: “Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation.”

Even Nigeria’s banking sector is being forced to clean up its act. The central bank last month removed the heads of five banks as part of a $2.6 billion bailout, before anti-corruption police brought charges against them including recklessly granting loans without due authorization.

“District 9” has not been the only headache for Akunyili’s rebranding campaign.

Sonyhad to edit an advert for its PlayStation 3 gaming console in which a customer asks the price, and was originally told: “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet, otherwise I’d be a Nigerian millionaire by now.”

“Why didn’t Sony, for instance, use Japan? Japanese being criminals. Don’t they have criminals in Japan,” Akunyili said.

“In District 9, why didn’t Hollywood use the criminals in New York? How many shootings do we have in a day in New York? Why didn’t they use the name of their president or their former president? There is no way anybody can defend what they did.” She said Sony had apologized.
(Additional reporting by Hannington Osodo; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Randy Fabi)

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3 Comments

  1. Great job. Thank you for sharing this information. I found it very needful for me. But what do you think about

  2. It has been unanimious agreed that the paint of ones name with the darkest colour of bad images is the worst obsequies arranged for that person/BIBLICAL:It has been stated that a person of log of wood in his eyes may be too blind to remove that in his eyes before admitting the removal of a piece of dust in another persons eye, for in the world the southern of African has been with the record of a country with the highest rate of RAPE. but as a result of this record bestowed to them globally they deem it best to paint our countries name so to outlisted as one of the globally recorded country with the highrated act of evil as it attins to them.but, trully through observations accordingly to the nigerians act of performance in our movie industry i might pronounce them right B/C checking from the kind of movie we act it is seductive in terms of TENDER MINDS 4 I THINK IT MAY AID OUR YOUTH NIGERIANS IN THE STIMULATIONS OF THEIR SEXUAL APPITITE and may equally aid in the upliftment of criminal activities e.g WITHOUT SHAME,AK47,and this seductive nigerian music titiled ""ALAJI"" which they tag imitations to the hollywood system of acts if possible they are imitating they would actually created the movie into becoming the americans ""TAP THAT ASS,/44 MINIUTES"". so i think that our government should possible see to it in the cases of our nigerian acting and equally ban/band so bluefilms simulacrums and equally some of the seductive musics that they sing nowadays that may contain sexual materials,4 I BELIEVE THAT IF ALL THESE ARE PROPERLY MONITORED ,THAT IN THE NEXT ACT OF THE SONY PAY STATIONS PRODUCTIONS THAT THE SOUTH OF AFRICA SHALL BE USED, but before i leave i plead that something about the EBONYIANS television presentations should be rebranded because i have gone to otherstates like enugu and am totally impressed by their presentations and in my discoveries EBONYI STATE IS LACKING 100 PERCENTAGELY BEHIND i wish that the ministers are here to verify the truthfullness of my facts ,4 the NTA ABAKALIKI CHANNEL43 the sunrise as they claim to be their slogan, are not performative to functions for the satisfactory of their indigences……………………………….nigerian good people , great nation

    REMEMBER: the imitaions of ones character is acheived to the more extend of surpassing the imitated performers, so if the movie industry plead for a chance to perform sexual films i think they should be allowed than allowing them to the performance of partial sex imitations that may rent a house of stimulations 2 their viewers and if they cannot they should notn perform any movies that may contain seductive acts …….

    THINK TWICE/ AND GRANT THEY THEM ACCESS 2 THE APPRECIATABLE ACT AND IF POSSIBLE UNAPPRECIATABLE ACTS that may prefer to indulge in.

    1. hello master GODWYN CHARLES thank you for the wonderful contributions on the steps to embark on towards abolishing the dark paint bestowed upon us by the south african , thanks alot we shall get back to you.

      bye from micheal bernard jones the commissioner of unfavourable claims rendered to other peoples.

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