Nigeria is the country with the largest population in Africa with over 200 million people living in the West African country, in which about 43.49 per cent of the country’s total population are aged 0 to 14 years according to Statista. Termed as the ‘Giant of Afric’ by all indications, the country has the most successful movie industry in Africa, Nollywood. Nollywood is the continent’s biggest movie industry with thousands of movies to its name, but the industry has faced recent backlash from social media users with the recent money ritual killings (Yahoo yahoo) orchestrated by young boys as young as 10-year-old in the name of getting rich. For most people, the rampant money ritual killings could be a result of the hundreds of Nollywood movies that depicts a poor man in desperate need of financial assistance, who is led to the nefarious money ritual act by either his friend or family member in the name of getting him out of poverty.
In this article, I asked myself ‘should Nollywood be held responsible for the rampant money ritual killings in Nigeria?’
Movies tend to be assertive on human psychology and behaviour. Remember how we get spooked after seeing a picture communicating gore, terrifying horror, and violence when it’s time for bed? It is as if there is a presence in our bedrooms, or someone’s gazing right at us.
Movies have an undue advantage on our societal framework and interactions. Some serve as an inspirational or motivating translation to a person’s current setbacks and challenges. They can depict real-life situations, proffering breakthroughs amidst the problems. The Nollywood movie White Waters deserves credit on that note. However, the Copycat Effect reveals the dangerous influence the media has in influencing the crime and activities of serial killers. According to Loren Coleman, “the copycat effect is the alleged tendency of sensational publicity about violent murders or suicides to result in more of the same through imitation.”
Speaking of imitations, movies like Scream and Saw, for example, were proved to be the imitating factors towards spates of crimes in the United States. In 2009, a girl attacked her teacher with a razor blade. Her face had been exactly painted like the Joker from Dark Knight.
THE NOLLYWOOD EFFECT
I have reinvented a new format called the Nollywood Effect. The sobriquet Nollywood which originally identifies with the Nigerian film industry is known for producing scintillating screen performance and drama. The industry yearly produces massive blockbusters and classical acts. But, what is the Nollywood effect? How have its contents fueled the ritual killings and perpetuated cult murders?
The Nollywood effect is described as an excessive motive to publicize grossly misleading films of ritualistic and spiritual insinuations, daring to the minds of an already desperate and jobless youthful population. Come on! This is not an implication to trample on the hard-earned laurels of the industry, but it is to settle the premise that films do influence human behaviour.
From Billionaires Club to Living In Bondage, Across the Bridge to Nothing For Nothing, here is a brief analysis of how Nollywood films might have influenced the popular ritual murders.
Now, many ritual-themed Nollywood films have a buildup wherein a poverty-stricken desperate man bumps into an old-time wealthy friend, who eventually contacts him days later, availing his dubious means of wealth. In these movies, you see procedural ceremonies and incantations, bloody tasks which involve the severance of body parts, and other distasteful acts. More than 50 per cent of Nollywood movies have ritual details on them. Kanayo .O. Kanayo and Yul Edochie have a combined total of more than 200 movies of that complexion.
We know they are strictly for entertainment purposes, but the persistence of these pictures only help to broaden the superstitious scope of the population. The ending scenes are obvious after all. Furthermore, nearly all the jinx practices are evident in real-life cases of ritual killings. For example, the latest case which involves the beheading of a young girl is similar to Enyinna Nwigwe’s opening scene in the Living In Bondage Movie.
I am considering the possibility that most of these intended criminal cases are copycat killings. Just look at it! All of the real lifetime practices surrounding ritual murders and human sacrifices are originated from Nollywood pictures. Thus, the Nollywood effect.
I don’t see Nollywood movies portraying ritual stories as interesting anymore. This is so because they are now obviously predictive. I mean, you and I already know the potential ending. Nollywood producers and directors should therefore explore other fascinating stories. Stories approving valuable lessons and redefining Nigeria and Africa, altogether. The persistent assertiveness of ritual movies contributes to denigrating the image of the country and also misinforms the general public of the actual reality of money rituals. It is a myth. At least, few “Babalawos” or herbalists have publicly lambasted the act, establishing how untrue it is. Conversely, the richest people in Nigeria are business moguls and workaholics. Why can’t Nollywood make a movie on these people? I am sure it can trigger the lost minds of young people to channel their focus on legit business opportunities and academic qualifications.
Enough of the money ritual movies.