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Democracy Day: HURIWA Wants Ban On Half Of A Yellow Sun Lifted

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
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As the nation celebrates democracy day on May 29th, an appeal by HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has gone 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 central government to allow Nigerians enjoy the freedom to watch the creative work of a vastly talented Nigerian- Ms. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on very nebulous, grotesque and incoherent excuses offered by the Nigerian Films and Video Censors Board in Abuja, is the greatest breach of the democratic and fundamental human rights which are universal, inalienable and sacrosanct.

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

HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian films and video censors board has reportedly suspended the showing of the preview of the movie in Nigerian cities citing the uncertainties of our contemporary times in Nigeria not unrelated to the insecurity across Nigeria.

The democracy inclined non-governmental organization in a statement to mark the 2014 democracy day has dismissed the suspension of the broadcasting of Half of a yellow Sun film adaptation in Nigeria as primitive, unconstitutional, illegal and highly anti-intellectual even as the Rights group has asked President Jonathan to apologize for this show of shame by the director General of the Nigerian films and video censors board in suspending ad infinitum the film in question.

HURIWA through a joint statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf reminded the Nigerian government that the Constitution allows for right to freedom of expression and the Press. It further reminded the Nigerian government that it is unwise to seek 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.

'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 of 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 backward and reactionary measure of suspending and or directing the producers of Half of 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 has therefore asked the Nigerian Government to reverse this decision immediately.

Besides, HURIWA warned government 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.