Tag Archives: media

Plagiarism (of me) in the Vanguard and the DG of Kano State Censor’s Board speaks out.

I’m still backlogged on a lot of blog posts, bear with me. I will post soon on the Zuma Film Festival, the Savannah International Movie Awards, and the NAISOD press conference.  But this morning, when I opened up this Vanguard article by Benjamin Njoku, “Our Grouse with Kannywood – DG, Kano Censorship Board,” (also found here on AllAfrica.com) it sounded curiously familiar.  While most of the article is an original piece outlining the director general of the Kano State Censorship Board’s “grouse with Kannywood,” the first three paragraphs are directly plagiarized from a piece I wrote (with the help of Nazir Hausawa and Ahmad Alkanawy) back in January 2009 and published first on my blog, then republished in NEXT, at Chimurenga Online, and at Pambazuka News. I thought I’d post immediately, half out of pique, half because the article is actually relevant to my research.

Here are the first four paragraphs of Njoku’s article:

Until three years ago, Kano used to be the home of a thriving film industry in the Hausa language. Hausa language ‘video-films’ are similar to the larger ‘Nollywood’ film industry but are stylistically different from their southern counterparts, with most films including song and dance sequences influenced by Indian films and hip-hop music videos.

A sex scandal in 2007 involving a leaked cell phone video of a Hausa film actress, Maryam ‘Hiyana’ Usman, having sex with her boyfriend Usman Bobo, instigated a change in the leadership of the Kano State Censorship Board. The board had been instituted in 2001 after the implementation of Islamic Sharia law as a compromise measure between the film makers and the government.

The censorship board enabled the films to continue being made but with some restrictions on dress and interaction between male and female actors.

Following the sex scandal, the incumbent director general of the Kano State Censorship Board, Abubakar Rabo Abdulkareem, formerly commandant of the hisbah, was appointed in August, 2007, to arrest the ugly trend. Since this administrative change, controversy has continued to trail the industry as there have been alleged multiple arrests and acts of intimidation against the film industry and related entertainment businesses in Kano.

Now here are the first three paragraphs  of my piece, as quoted from NEXT:

Nigeria’s northern city of Kano was until last year the home of a thriving film industry in the Hausa language. Hausa language “video-films” are similar to the larger “Nollywood” Nigerian film industry but are stylistically different from their southern cousins, with most films including song and dance sequences influenced by Indian films and hip-hop music videos.

In August 2007, a sex scandal involving a leaked cell phone video of a Hausa film actress Maryam “Hiyana” Usman having sex with her boyfriend Usman Bobo instigated a change in the leadership of the Kano State Censorship Board. The board had been instituted in 2001 after the implementation of Islamic Shari’ a law as a compromise measure between the filmmakers and the government.

The censorship board enabled the films to continue being made but with some restrictions on dress and interaction between male and female actors. (The Kano State Censorship Board is a separate entity from the National Film and Video Censor’s Board which files and gives ratings to all films made in Nigeria. Hausa filmmakers are required to submit their films to both bodies if they want to sell their films in Kano State.)

[….] [Paragraph four deleted in Njoku’s piece, he continues on to paragraph five.]

Following the sex scandal, a new director general of the Kano State Censorship Board Abubakar Rabo Abdulkarim, formerly commandant of the hisbah, was appointed in August 2007. Since the administrative change, there have been multiple arrests and acts of intimidation against the film industry and related entertainment businesses in Kano.

This is not the first time I have been plagiarized. A piece I wrote under a pseudonym was rather humorously mangled in a local government-funded paper (I didn’t make any public noise about it because I had written under a pseudonym) and several other pieces were taken without attribution on ModernGhanaNews.com and other such sites. Similarly, my photos posted on this blog, on flickr, and other internet forums are regularly published without attribution. But this is the first time, I have been plagiarized in such a respectable paper by an entertainment journalist I have, myself, quoted (with attribution) in my academic work. I am flattered that my piece I wrote a year and a half ago is still felt to be well written and relevant enough to open a new article (with a few edits and moving around of phrases), but, as most writers are, I am also irritated at having my words taken with no attribution and at the subtle changes made to the text to imply that the “ugly trend” of being arrested is somehow the fault of the filmmakers and separate from the authority of the Kano State Censor’s Board.

And, of course, what I am experiencing is common to many other journalists. I have several journalist friends who have complained about their words being stolen and used without attribution on online publications, and I daily read newspapers with “culled” stories from international news sites, some with attribution, some with none.

My grouse on having my words plagiarized being stated, if you’d like to hear more of DG Rabo Abdulkarim’s “grouse on Kannywood,” read on to the “original material” in the article, with the usual accusations against Kannywood (amongst many others) that

five percent of their immediate concern is to copy other people’s works at a cheap rate.

yeah, that’s apparently not too unusual in other media either…

In other recent news on the Head of the Kano State Censorship board, apparently Rabo Abdulkarim was involved in an altercations with filmmakers in Kaduna after he made accusations on Radio DITV in Kaduna about Hausa filmmakers making blue films. For more information on the gathering of filmmakers who challenged the head censor on the premises of DITV, read Al-Amin Ciroma’s article “Showdown with a Censor” published in Leadership on 18 May 2010.

Hausa Home Video Resource Centre

The Mass Communication Department at Bayero University has been very generous in their hosting of me while I have been doing my research in Kano. As part of my appreciation for their help, I am helping them to coordinate and put together a blog for the Hausa Home Video Resource Centre. You can check it out the blog, which I started working on yesterday, here:

The Hausa Home Video Resource Centre is an initiative of the Department of Mass Communication at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria. It was founded with the aim to provide access to information about the Hausa film industry for researchers, journalists, and the general public and to provide useful resources for practitioners in the industry. It is currently being coordinated by Carmen McCain, a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a visiting scholar in the Department of Mass Communications at Bayero University

In the next few months, we hope to provide access to archived newspaper articles about the Hausa film industry, updates on resources for Hausa film practitioners, and summaries of Hausa films for the general public. You can access photos and documents at our picasa site: http://www.google.com/profiles/hausahomevideoresource#about

You can contact the Hausa Home Video Resource Centre at hausahomevideoresource @ gmail.com. We welcome any feedback or suggestions on how we can improve the site or the centre.

Aminu Ala given bail on condition that he does not speak with media

Authors Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino and Ibrahim Sheme on the Finafinan_Hausa listserve both report that Aminu Ala was released yesterday, July 9, 2009, on bail, but on the condition that he does not speak with local or international media. The case was adjourned until 20 July 2009.

On his blog, Ibrahim Sheme reports on the granting of bail

But there’s a caveat. Ala was barred from granting interviews to local and international media – clearly a desperate attempt to muzzle his freedom of expression and the freedom of the press on the issue. The court ruled that his bail would be thwarted if he does so.

Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino gives a detailed summary in Hausa of the court case on July 9, which I will copy below. He reports that despite the large rainstorm of the night before and the water on the roads, the court was completely full at 10am when the case was scheduled to begin, including even “girls and married women who had heard the news of the case on the radio.” The judge did not show up, and they were told to wait or come back at 1pm. At 1:45pm, the judge finally showed up, and gave Ala bail until the court meets again on 20 July, except that (Gidan Dabino puts this in all caps) “THE COURT PROHIBITED HIM FROM TALKING WITH DOMESTIC OR FOREIGN JOURNALISTS.” He continues “We and those from outside will continue talk.” In the meantime the Kano branch of the Association of Nigerian Authors came out with a press release on 8 July 2009, which I will copy in it’s entirety after the report in Hausa by Gidan Dabino.

Barka da warhaka ‘yan’uwa, kamar yadda na bayar da bayanin yadda aka ce an daga zaman kotu sai 14 ga wata, baya ta haihu, domin an sami kuskure wajen rubutun da ma’aikatan kotun suka yi, amma bayan kai kawo da aka yi aka gano kuskuren ma’aikatan koton don sun rubuta kwanan watan da ba daidai ba, bayan kai kawo da ka yi an dawo da zama kotun yau kamar yadda aka ambata a baya.
Yau da misalin karfe 10 na safe jama’a sun yi dafifi sun cika kotu, cikar kwari kotun ta yi, duk da ruwan sama da ake yi, yau kotun har da matan aure da ‘yan mata da zaurawa da suka ji labari a rediyo, sun sami hallara. Amma mai shari’a bai fito ba, ya ce sai karfe 1, nan ma bai zauna ba sai 1.45 sannan ya zauna  kuma Alkalin kotun ya yarda ya bayar da belin Ala, sannan za a ci gaba da shari’a ranar 20/ga wannan wata.
Allah sarki! Mu da muke waje za mu yi hirar. Ai gari da mutane maye ba zai ci kansa ba!
Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino, Kano, Nigeria

You can visit my blog Taskar Gidan Dabino at http://gidandabino.blogspot.com
The ANA press release is as follows:
Press Release
At an emergency meeting held at the Bayero University Kano, today, July 8, 2009, the Association of Nigerian Authors Kano State Branch, frowns at the arrest of one of its members Alhaji Aminuddeen Ladan Abubakar (ALA) over the alleged release of a song that has not been censored by the Kano State Censorship Board.
The Association is seriously looking at the implication of the arrest which is seen as an attack on liberty and freedom of expression. The Association has observed that the authorities in Kano are hostile to art and literature. This action and other past actions of the authorities are seriously undermining the position of Kano State as the leading centre of learning, art and literature.
The Association wishes to advise the authority to be cautious on the way it handles the matters of authors and other producers of art. Art and literature are part and parcel of every
society and no society can do without it.
Yours faithfully,
Dr. Yusuf M Adamu
Branch Chairman
Alh. Balarabe Sango II
Public Relations Officer
July 8, 2009

“The ‘S’ Word”–First wife divorces husband for denying her sex

Ok, so my title is a bit tabloidish…. but I was so struck by this powerful personal account published by an anonymous woman in Khadija Abdu Iya’s column in this Sunday’s Leadership, that I wanted to post it here on this blog. The Leadership website is currently down, so I decided to post a photograph of the article. If the print is too small, try clicking on the photo and you should be able to zoom into an image. [UPDATE 26 October 2010. Seeing a renewed interest in all the clicks on this post, I re-uploaded a photo that is more readable. Clicking on the image here will take you to a large photo of the article that is easily readable on screen.)

An educated “career” woman with four children describes her early romance and marriage, and how she felt betrayed when, after her husband married two other wives, he began to deny her sex saying he felt she was like “his sister.” She is now considering divorcing him. The pain in this woman’s voice is piercing and powerful.

The mysterious Asabe Murtala/Muktar Writes again

[UPDATE 17 April 2011, revisiting this piece over two years later, I see that the links to the Triumph and the Trust piece have both been taken down. However, you can still find the ‘Asabe Murtala’ piece on Gamji.]

“Asabe Murtala” writes on the Iyan Tama case again apparently in reply to a rejoinder by an Aminu Sa’ad Beli from Lawyers Without Borders. However, I have not been able to find the rejoinder using google. (If anyone has seen it, please send me the link or the letter) Ms. Asabe’s initial mode of attack seems to question the credentials and moral authority of Aminu Sa’ad Beli, several choice quotes being:

Beli should understand that, it is the kind of their write-ups that makes he public unruly. Not a decent government agency like the Kano State Censorship Board. Absolutely not them!”


Paragraph number 7 of Beli’s piece is one of the areas that shocked me to my knees. Let me quote the part precisely. He says “But then whatever is the undercurrent, my candid opinion is that, the attitude of the Rabo managed censorship board is not only contradictory but unnecessary.” For God sake how can a sane person come out and boldly say a board that looks after people’s moral practice is not necessary in the society? So do you want us to always be wallowing in moral bankruptcy?

There is much much more, but I will leave that to the delectation of the reader who is tempted to click on the link.

“Asabe Murtala’s” piece to which Aminu Sa’ad Beli was apparently responding was initially published as “An Open Letter to the US Embassy in Nigeria,” in the Daily Triumph on 23 December 2008. It was published 8 January 2009 in the Daily Trust as “Iyan Tama, U.S., and the Kano Censorship Board” under the name “Asabe Muktar.” In this first piece Asabe Murtala/Muktar claims to be a “stakeholder in the film industry in Kano State;” however, in a discussion about the piece on the finafinan Hausa listserve, no one had seemed to have heard of her in the industry or in related publications. In this piece “she” uses the evidence that “she” had applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for the company name “Iyan Tama Multi Media Limited,” and correspondence came back saying that the name was avilable, to make the claim that “the above informaation is a clear testimony to the fact that Hamisu Tama did not register with the Corporate Commission.” Iyan-Tama later mentioned to several of us who visited him in prison that his company name has a hyphen “Iyan-Tama”–and, of course, as Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu pointed out in an email to the Finafinan Hausa listserve, there are any number of combinations of the name that would not come up in a search for the name she entered:

“Shin YAYA ake rubuta sunan kamfanin Hamisu —
Iyan Tama Multimedia, ko kuma Iyan-Tama Multimedia, ko kuma Iyan-Tama Multi-media, ko kuma Iyan Tama Multi-media?”

And in other news Ibrahim Sheme updates his blog with a Hausa version of the open letter to Governor Ibrahim Shekarau

(For background on the censorship crisis in Kano, see this post)