1.1   Background of the Study

Nigerian movies, popularly referred to as Nollywood movies, produced by the Nigerian film industry uses formats such as video cassette, video compact disc (VCD), and more recently the digital video disc (DVD), in producing their movies. These Nigerian movies are also shown on some channels such as “Africa Magic”, “Nollywood”, “Magic Africa”, etc, on DSTV, “Cine Africa”, “MYTV”, as well as other cable networks which people subscribe to and which are viewed by the audience through the television, which is classified under the types of media, among others. The media is evidently seen as one of the agents of socialization, in the study of the society. This means that the media is capable of influencing the attitude, character, lifestyle and culture of individuals either negatively or positively. Therefore, it is important to know what kind of movies are being produced for viewing, since as a result of technology, more and more people in the society, have access to television.

According to Daramola(2005), “The mass media are very powerful socializing agents. The mass media are mainly newspapers, magazines, radio, television and movies. They are impersonal sources and they reach large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audiences. Their exact role in socialization is controversial but as disseminators of news and entertainment, they are extremely influential. The mass media therefore, especially the television, have been linked by several studies of having great influence upon socialization of children, adolescents and even adults”. Consciously or unconsciously, people, most especially children and youth, learn different aggressive and violent acts as they constantly watch these movies and most times they end up exhibiting such acts within their neighborhood, in school and within other social gatherings. As they watch movies with violent themes, they are likely to exhibit various criminal acts like bullying, kicking, raping and other delinquent behaviors. (Oslow, 2003) The themes of these movies are indeed broad and covering Nigerian, African, and universal issues such as, the evils of polygamy, extra marital affairs, elopement, different forms of rituals, cultism, betrayal, marriage, witchcraft, incest, clash of Western and traditional cultures, landlords and tenants, widowhood, teenage pregnancy, drug trafficking, campus life, tribal conflicts, religious conflicts, organized crime, murder, etc (Akpabio, 2003).

Some other movies have themes solely based on Christianity and the evils that go on in churches and among pastors, such as those produced by Mount Zion Ministries, for the purpose of spreading the gospel and pointing out the ills that go on even in churches. Some examples include, “Busy but guilty”, “Blood on the altar”, “One careless night”, etc. Many other movies could be educative and portray some Nigerian culture, while others could also be in form of documentaries, showing the history of some Nigerian culture as well as how it has evolved. An example of such documentary movies is “Towards a metaphysics”, produced in 2010. But unfortunately, the most common themes evident in the majority of Nigerian movies includes violence, which umbrellas cultism, murder, rape, aggressive fights, etc, and Romance, which covers sex, nudity and vulgarity or the use of strong language, etc. Another common theme is that of rituals and the use of traditional medicine. Most of these are evidently negative themes and are therefore malevolent to the development of personality and behavior of its audience members in our contemporary society, especially the youth and children who are still at the primary and secondary stage of their socialization or learning process, and are vulnerable or prone to picking up or adopting attitudes and behaviors from what they observe in the movies. The portrayal of negative themes has been the base of Nigerian film industry, probably because of the gains gotten from constant patronage from its audience as well as the interest the audience members have in pornography, nudity, violence and the likes. The industry was accused of over-emphasizing negative themes. The National Film and Video Censors Board, (the industry regulatory body), in its guidelines for motion picture producers, called for production to be above board in portrayal of violence, crimes, sex, pornography, vulgarity, obscenity and other sensitive subjects (NFVBC, 2000).

Today, the nature of most Nigerian movies have grown or evolved from bad to worse, especially on the part of those that portray sex, pornography and vulgarity. From experience, a comparison of older films such as “Outcast 1 & 2” and “Night Out (Girls for sale)” produced between 1999 and 2000 and more recent ones such as “Dirty Secret” and “Men in Love” produced between 2010 and 2011, has proven that the level of the portrayal of nudity, pornography and sex has become worse than before, the actors and actresses are now more comfortable with being nude, while acting. This is definitely malevolent to some audience members who will develop more interest in pornography and may eventually become addicts. This will not only increase the number of rape reports, but will also give rise to more and more cases of teenage pregnancies, abortion, as well as abandonment of unwanted babies which increases the number of children to be cared for at motherless babies homes. Another issue is the constant production and distribution of these movies, which goes to show that people actually patronize them by buying the movies for either personal viewing or to rent to people in video shops, in spite of the nature of most of these movies. Therefore, in trying to find out how home videos can pose as malevolent to our contemporary society, it is also important to find out what the members of the audience think about the nature of some of the themes portrayed in home videos, as well as what their attitudes towards such movies are, since it directly affect them.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

If an investigation or a study is carried out on the category of people that make up the majority of the audience members of Nigerian movies, the result will definitely prove that it is children, adolescents and the youth. The minority will be older people because of the responsibilities of going to work, earning a living and planning a home, which they are faced with. As the youth grow and mature into adulthood, they gradually lose interest in watching movies because they begin to prioritize some things over others and also develop a sense of responsibility (Daramola, 2005). A study by Liebert and Poulson (1972), cited by Hess at al (1988), reveals that children in Canada begin to watch television before they are three years old. By the age of eighteen, a child will have spent more time in front of the television than anywhere else, including school. In the United States of America, children watch over three hours of television per day. Schaefer and Lamm (1997) study, also reveal that apart from sleeping, watching television is the most time-consuming activity of young people. The same trend is going on in the Nigerian contemporary society, particularly in the urban cities. It is very common to find children watching movies and videos every day. Since members of the audience of Nigerian movies also constitute members of the society, and the media, especially television, is also capable of influencing an individual’s behavior, the negative effects of these videos will also indirectly affect the society at large. That is to say that if people adopt some certain behavior as a result of these movies, it could indirectly affect the society by creating social problems such as, increase in rape reports, abortion, over-crowding of motherless babies homes due to unwanted babies, violence, increased crime rates and juvenile delinquencies, e t c. Therefore, this study seeks to look at the extent of malevolence of Nigerian movies in our contemporary society, by looking at the nature and content of these movies and why it is still being patronized by audience members despite its malevolent nature.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

The major objectives of this study, is to ascertain the impact of Nigerian movies on the general society. The specific objectives of the study are as follows:

1.  To ascertain if there is an over-emphasis of negative themes in Nigerian movies.

2.  To identify the negative effects or disadvantages associated with watching Nigerian movies.

3.  To find out how Nigerian movies can affect the society indirectly. To suggest ways to prevent or reduce the negative effects or malevolence caused by Nigerian movies in our contemporary society.

1.4     Research Questions

This study will seek answers to questions such as:

1.  Is there an over-emphasis of negative themes in Nigerian movies?

2.  What are the negative effects or disadvantages associated with watching Nigerian movies?

3.     How can Nigerian movies affect the society indirectly?

1.5   Research Hypotheses

Hypothesis 1

Ho:  There is no significant relationship between Nigerian video films and criminality.

Hi:  There is a significant relationship between Nigerian video films and criminality.

Hypothesis 2

Ho:  There are no negative effects or disadvantages associated with watching Nigerian movies.

Hi:  There arenegative effects or disadvantages associated with watching Nigerian movies.

1.6     Significance of the Study

It is obvious that Nollywood to a very large extent contributes to violence in Nigeria. A worrisome aspect of these films is that none of the film-makersactively canvasses for the discouragement of the negative tendencies acted out on the screen. And the failure by movie producers to make any strong comment against social ills is a short coming of the films that use violence in their messages. The implication is that such films rather than amelioring violent acts in the society tend to aggravate them, Folarin, [1999]. The study looks at the malevolence of Nigerian movies in our contemporary society. The study does not dispute the fact that the television which is one aspect of the media, is also very beneficial to learning and development processes, and as a matter of fact, goes a long way in socializing individuals by helping them blend more easily into the society due to the amount of information passed on to the audience through well-coordinated motion pictures with various contents and storylines. As a medium of communication, the home videos are influential media and have the capacity of sending a wrong message or impression to the viewing audience especially young people in their vulnerable stages of growth. Moreover, such impression could spell a big problem to the entire society owing to the fact that the youth learn more easily from what they see or observe than from what they hear. However, as every research work is expected to add to the existing knowledge, this study should serve as a referencing material to students and other researchers who will be carrying out research on related studies. Also Nigerian film makers will benefit from the information contained here as a yard stick to measure the level of their weaknesses and compare it with the strengths they have which could serve as a guide to correcting their weak points for a better future of their products and the society at large. This study’s significance is also justifiable on the grounds that it will contribute largely to the understanding of the negative effects of home videos or the malevolent nature of some home videos towards our contemporary society, which would spur film makers to improve on the quality and the contents of the movies produced. Parents will also become aware or be exposed to the negative effects of movies and how they can influence their children’s behavior both on the long and short run. This would cause them to seek means of controlling their children’s viewing habits and be conscious of what they watch and the themes embedded in these movies. Resultantly, this would reduce the negative impacts, as well as the level of malevolence caused by movie watching in our contemporary society. Based on various theories, or rather as a result of these theories, film makers will then try to adhere to National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) laws by differentiating the age ratings for various movies, while the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation will also try to review and censor the movies before they get into circulation. And the parents on the other hand will ensure that children watch only the movies specified for their various ages. To conclude, this study is significant because it seeks to investigate these issues of negativity in movie themes and its effects on people and the society at large, as well as identify and proffer possible solutions to curb the problem, by finding out the roots of these problems. Although it may be impossible to completely erase them, the study seeks to discover how the problem can be reduced and controlled.

1.7   Scope/Limitations of the Study

This study on the influence of Nigerian Home video films on criminality.

Limitations of Study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.8     Definition of Terms

Malevolence: According to ‘Merriam- Webster’s dictionary’, this can be defined as the quality or state of being productive of harm or evil. The Webster’s nu world collgate Dictionary defines it as, “wishing harm or evil, and showing or having ill will”. That is, the state of causing harm or evil. In this study, it means the harm caused by Nigerian movies. Malevolence here refers to the ability of Nigerian movies to be harmful to our society, or the harm caused by Nigerian movies in our contemporary society.

Movie: This is defined as “the showing of motion pictures or the motion picture medium”, by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary”.

Nigerian Movie: This refers to the Nigerian motion picture medium, or the showing of Nigerian motion-picture.

Contemporary: According to the same source, contemporary is marked by characteristics of the present period. It is also seen as, “happening, existing, living or coming into being during the same period of time”. In this study, contemporary means, “this present day society, which we exist or live in”.

Delinquency: According to the Oxford Advanced learner’s dictionary, delinquency can be defined as bad or criminal behavior, usually of young people. Therefore delinquency is seen in this study as the criminal or bad behavior of Nigerian movie audience, as a result of watching movies especially the younger audience members.