1. Ethnic and religious society like Nigeria, the censorship and classification of films into varying categories not only allows adults the opportunity to see a wider range of films dealing with the realities of the adult world, but at the same time restricts children and youth from viewing what could be harmful to them in one way or another, this is besides ensuring that other kinds of objectionable materials capable of inciting civil strife is reduced or eliminated completely.
  2. The classification system serves two different functions; first, it lays down a set of legally enforceable rules to restrict admission and access to adult films by minors. On the other hand, it offers to parents some advance information about the suitability of the film so that parents can make informed decisions about what to let their children watch.
  3. The Board abides at all times the legal instruments that established it which is the NFVCB Act 85 of 1993, which lays out specific criteria for the censorship of films and video works. However in line with global best practices and under section 2(e) of the NFVCB Act the Board has also established clear guidelines for the censorship and classification of films and video works.
  4. However it is important to note that the Board shall not classify material which it believes to be in breach of the criminal law; and 
  5. Where possible the Board will carry out its responsibilities through appropriate use of the classification categories, particularly in order to protect children from actual or potential harm. If necessary, however, the Board may cut or even reject a film, video, DVD or digital work. The Board’s approach to rejects is set out at the end of these Guidelines.
  6. The detail of the Guidelines is contained in the following pages. But it is right to set out here the general underlying grounds on which the Board exercises the broad discretion conferred on it. There are four main considerations:

    • is the film or video work in conflict with the law?
    • that adults should be free to choose their entertainment, within the law.
    • is the film or video classified for a particular age group likely to be harmful?
    • is the material, at the age group concerned, clearly unacceptable to broad public opinion?

The Board’s broad philosophy is to apply censorship criteria before classification. It therefore follows that the Board’s main censorship considerations are based on Section 37 of the NFVCB Decree No. 85 of 1993 which states “the Censors and Classification Committee in reaching a decision on a film or video work shall ensure that:

  • such a film or video work has educational or entertainment value apart from promoting the Nigerian culture, unity and interest; and
  • that such film or video work is not likely:
  • to undermine national security; or
  • to induce or reinforce the corruption of private or public morality; or
  • to encourage or glorify the use of violence; or
  • to expose the people of African heritage to ridicule or contempt; or
  • to encourage illegal or criminal acts; or
  • to encourage racial, religions or ethnic discrimination or conflict; or
  • by its contents to be blasphemous or obscene; or
  • to denigrate the dignity of womanhood”