The producers of controversial Nigerian flick, Pamela Adie and Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim, two may be jailed if they go ahead with their scheduled release of ‘Ife’, Nigeria’s first lesbian movie.
The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) had fervently refused to approve the movie for distribution, explaining that its content violates the country’s extant law on homosexuality.
Homosexuality is prohibited by law in Nigeria and offenders could bag 14-year sentence if convicted.
Amid the disapproval, Adie had last month said the controversial film will be released this year via an online platform.
It is understood that the movie will be screened privately in Lagos by the end of the month, while its international premiere is scheduled for October in Canada.
In a chat with BBC, Adebayo Thomas, NFVCB director, said the board will prosecute the film’s producers if they eventually release the movie without the board’s approval.
“There’s a standing law that prohibits homosexuality, either in practice or in a movie or even in a theatre or on stage. If it’s content from Nigeria, it has to be censored,” he said
Thomas stated that the board has the right to censor the movie, regardless of the platform it is released, “as long as it’s Nigerian content and it’s telling a Nigerian story.”
“If it did not pass through NFVCB and it is released, the filmmakers will be prosecuted according to the law,” he added.
The NFVCB boss also promised to pull down the film if eventually released, noting that the board had already partnered with several online platforms including Google and YouTube.
“As long as it’s Nigerian content, we will pull it down because we have collaborations with Google, YouTube and other key players,” he said.