Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Beyond the Porn Video

opinion

Sokoto — The recent circulation of a sex video clip purported to have been snapped for private viewing generated mixed reactions from the public in the entire North and beyond.

Initially, when the news broke of the said video clip featuring a prominent Hausa movie star and her boyfriend having sex, it was speculated that the Hausa movie industry had made its debut of a pornographic movie.

But after careful examination of the video clip, it was obvious as reported by several national dailies including Trust that the clip was meant for private viewing, but was sneaked and later circulated to the public. How it was sneaked still remains a mystery. While I am not justifying the acts in the video clip; in fact, I condemn it in its totality, I also disagree with many comments and articles on it. I regard this issue seriously; that it needs to be examined beyond the video clip, while trying to be fair to the so-called apostle of our moral standard. We have to be just to Maryam Usman (Hiyana).

For the sake of clarity, the video clip was not a pornography or film per se, because for a movie to be that short, it must have a producer, director, marketer or distributors and must be shot with a standard camera. But in this case, it was a mobile phone captured for private viewing as earlier stated.

If there is anybody worth condemning, definitely, it's the person that peeped into someone else's private life to the extent of distributing what should have been private to the public. People seem to be ignoring this issue; nothing has been said about those circulating the video clip. Is this part of our cultural and moral values, making money out of dehumanising your fellow humans?

Though both cultural and moral standards are relative terms, even among the Hausa-speaking North, Islam has been a unifying factor for setting cultural and moral standards in the process of enforcing cultural and moral values, but we tend to violate the fundamentals upon which these tenets are built - love, peace and tolerance.

When news of the video clip broke out, I expected our ulama to carefully study the situation in accordance with the traditions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and come out with a position in accordance with the sunnah. Threats, curses and calling for total ban of Hausa home videos are not enough to correct the problems. If the Kano State government bans the production of Hausa home videos, it definitely cannot ban the production of other Nigerian home videos, Nollywood to be precise, or control the infiltration of western movies or stop the comeback of Indian movies. I remember the case of Safiya; when our society turned against her, our ulama could not stop sneaking her to Italy for what she needed most, but we could not give love, of course. We therefore have to be very conscious of other alternatives before jumping into conclusions.

We are now in a global world full of competitions and cultural dominations. Hausas are not in isolation; we have to face the modern day realities of exploiting information, communication technology and fast-growing tourism and entertainment industry to position ourselves and preserve our cultural identity.

We cannot rescind to new world order or be intimidated simply because of a leaked video clip to the extent of shutting down our entertainment industry. Instead, we should be more focused in strengthening our capacity to use our home video industry as a shield against foreign domination as well as checking our falling moral standard and cultural infiltration in the global world.

We also have to be mindful of job opportunities offered to our teeming youth by home video industries. Many youth now depend on home videos as their source of livelihood. Therefore, the calls for ban on Hausa home videos come as a surprise. Despite its condemnation for cultural adulterations, it is a known fact that the Hausa home videos still remain the only home videos that can be watched by a whole family without the fear of nude scenes.

Our problem in the North is that we don't understand the importance of the film industry in protecting and projecting societal image and, therefore, left the matter in hands of young men and women. These young men need the guidance of our ulama, traditional rulers and academics, so that they can properly understand our cultural norms and values. Instead of merely criticising without proffering solutions, this is a challenge to our various tertiary and research institutions to liaise with the home video industry in protecting and projecting our image right.

Kano and other state governments including the federal government should understand the importance of the film industry as an instrument of public control and societal re-orientation. Government should go beyond censorship to active participation. We have seen how the US government aids Hollywood in accessing unclassified documents; have access to state facilities and apparatus, which in turn project the supremacy of US and its citizen, thereby promoting national consciousness.

To our women NGOs and liberators whose interest is more on political appointments and challenging men, this is a great challenge where your attention should be focused. Maryam Usman needs your assistance, love and care because she's suffered much from trauma, stigma, pain and anguish. It is now up to her fellow women to rise and protect the dignity of womanhood, investigate and tell the world how the video clip sneaked to the public and the negative consequences of its circulation and let competence, not gender, decide on who rules. We all commit one sin or the other but pray to Almighty Allah for His forgiveness.

Hamza wrote from Sokoto.

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