Abuja — The Nigeria Film and Video Censor Board has delayed the release of Half of a Yellow Sun, the movie adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel by Chimamanda Adichie.
The movie was expected to start showing in cinemas across Nigeria starting from Friday.It had earlier been premiered in London and Lagos.
The movie's director, Biyi Bandele, speaking to the BBC's Focus on Africa, said that he did not know why the film was delayed.
"What's frustrating is we have not received a formal letter from the board telling us we've been banned, or that we've not been banned," he lamented.
Though the NFVCB has not said the film has been banned, observers speculate that the delay may be linked to the content of the movie.
The novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, was centered on the Nigeria civil war – the Biafran war – and was told from the perspective of the Biafrans.
In an interview with Arise 360 in March, Ms. Adichie stated that her reasons for writing the novel included starting up a discussion about the war among her generation of Nigerians.
However, there are some who feel that the war, which took place between 1966 and 1970, is still fresh and the issues surrounding it too sensitive for public discussion.
Some initial critics of the movie,after its Lagos premiere, also found problem with the nudity in it. In a particular scene, actress, Thandie Newton, was filmed with her breasts exposed. Nigeria tends to style itself as a conservative country with high religious morals, a stance promoted by its leaders and government officials. The country's conservatism is sometimes highlighted in the type of entertainment material consumed by its citizens. Regulatory bodies, such as the Board and the National Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, have often banned films, videos, and songs from airing on television or radio due, to their highly sexual content.
Half of a Yellow Sun stars award-winning British-Nigerian, Chiwetel Ejiofor, among other notable Nigerian and international stars.