Written by Biodun Ogungbo - Nigeria
|Dr. Biodun Ogungbo|
There is a story/video reported on the Internet. The title of the video, “Flying bird turns into old woman in Oshodi,” doesn’t appear to explain the disturbing scene, but its description and a local news article combine to create an unusual narrative.
In the film, an angry mob and a policewoman can just be made out, gathered in a circle on the dusty ground. As the camera finds its focus, the grim reality becomes clear. In the middle of the circle sits a woman, almost naked, her body bloodied and burnt.
Eyewitnesses quoted by a newspaper said a black bird had been flying in the sky over Oshodi, in Lagos, before striking an electrical cable, falling to the earth and transforming into a woman. The same eyewitnesses said she confessed to being a witch.
Banke Idowu was one of those who filmed the woman. She told BBC Trending that as she arrived, she was told about the metamorphosis by others in the crowd. She herself believes the explanation of witchcraft. “I’ve never seen it in real life, but I’ve heard about it and seen it in films. So when they said it happened, I believed it.”
A friend was at a discussion forum where a taxi driver claimed in broad daylight that he hit a cat on the road and after the impact, the dead cat turned into a dead woman. The police were called, they bought the taxi driver's story and took the corpse away. He got away with manslaughter! Sadly, many on the forum also believed his story.
Did you get that?
This is what Nigerians see in films and therefore believe it must be real! If it is on television, it must be happening! Life imitating art in Nigeria! Every day, we see and hear about children and women being called witches by a hate mob and beaten to death. By Christians and Muslims! In a community near you! In Nigeria! In 2014!
How completely stupid and utterly unbelievable that we have such ignorant and gullible half-educated illiterates roaming our streets? This is what we have become in Nigeria as educated people stand aside, aloof, seemingly unconcerned about the denigration of our 'modern' society. We allow crass impunity in our daily lives, thinking it will not affect us. But this is a fallacy, as shown by the recent happenings in Edo and Ekiti states: It is bound to affect all we hold sacred!
The evil in Nollywood
Nollywood is a cancer that is destroying the future while pretending to be showcasing the past. The past is, however, portrayed as the present while deluding the public with crudity of culture. Nollywood is not somebody but an ephemeral collection of crude, unimaginative, juju-loving businesses that have contributed nothing to the social conscience of Nigeria. Nollywood is shameless producers, ugly actors and actresses, surrounded by big money and supported by government. That no one seems able to realise the destruction of our morals and ethics by Nollywood is simply astounding! That you and I tolerate this nonsense is insufferable.
What should we do?
The police should identify, arrest and prosecute people at the scenes of murderous acts depicted in pictures and films. They should investigate and track down the perpetrators and deal with them decisively. The press should name and shame those who engage in such acts and we should all put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Nollywood.
The Federal Ministry of Health must take on this fight in conjunction with other relevant ministries to educate and inform Nigerians about this evil in our midst. We must use the social media to correct this wrong and stimulate Nigerians to be defenders of social justice.
We must punish Nollywood by not advertising in, supporting or watching horrible, infested and juju-laced movies from its stables. Let us concentrate on the sports and educational channels instead! Other new stations, including Health TV Africa, have much to offer in stimulating programmes that do more for our collective future.
You and I must engage on social media platforms and other avenues to convey the message in strong terms to all who allow this to happen on our streets. If you know those who have stood by and witnessed these atrocities, discuss the issue with them and educate them as to the collective humiliation we face. A nation that cannot protect its weakest has no hope.
Who will bell the cat?
Who will tell Nollywoood that we have had enough of the bestiality in makes and remakes of films on witches and witchcraft? Who will ask them to stop making films that debase our very soul, demean women and lead to the murder of our children? Who will show Nollywood the way to make socially and culturally relevant movies closer to reality and about a better future for Nigeria? Who will ask Nollywood to label their films as 'fiction, do not try this on the streets'?
Someone must do something about this and perhaps the next minister of health might take a starring role. The outgoing health minister beat Ebola, so this is totally possible. However, before that, we need to educate ourselves about the evils of Nollywood and the havoc it wreaks on DSTV.