Nigerians Finally See District 9… And They Aren’t Happy


Well I think we all saw this coming. Ever since its release back in August, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 was accused by some critics of being racist — a charge that seems a bit odd for a movie that is so clearly commenting on Apartheid. In particular, the biggest issue was the presence of a Nigerian gang in the film, who are portrayed as both criminals and cannibals. Now that the District 9 has arrived in Nigerian theatres, the government has taken issue with this aspect of the film and requested that all screenings be halted. Information Minister Dora Akunyili had this to say:

“We are not happy about it because it portrays Nigeria in bad light… We have written to the producer and distributor of the film, Sony Entertainment, expressing our displeasure and demanded an apology. We have asked that the areas where Nigeria and Obasanjo are mentioned should be edited from the film.”

The leader of the Nigerian gang in the film is named Obesandjo, which would seem to be a reference to former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. Some people have also felt it was inappropriate that the Nigerians are seen to practice voodoo, although in reality there are millions of people in Nigeria who subscribe to a form of this traditional African religion. Either way, Sony has not yet responded and clearly they could not remove the gang from the film entirely since they are so integral to the story. However, I suppose it’s possible that they could trim any dialogue that identifies them specifically as Nigerians. What do you think is this a reasonable request? Would it hurt the film, or is there a valid reason to make the gang Nigerian?

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  • I guess in one sense every movie will offend somebody. This was bound to happen.
    I can be easily edited out and it clearly isn’t a specific thing that the film is based in Nigeria so that can be edited anyway.

  • Maopheus

    Hell, the Iranians were pissed about 300 because it showed Persians as the bad guys. And this was stuff that happened 2500 years ago! But I am wondering if there was a particular reason why the gang was made to be Nigerian. Is there a history of Nigerians being involved in similar gangs that prey upon real-life slums and shantytowns? I guess the movie would have exactly the same effect if they were said to be from any other African country or even if their nationality was not mentioned. They’re clearly African of some kind we can all see that. But since the movie is out and they are called Nigerian, I’m opposed to any editing or “censorship” after the fact.

  • Just because the film was promoting an anti-racist message in parts, doesn’t mean the filmmakers are exempt from having racism seep into other parts.

    It’s unfortunate that the whole Nigerian gang storyline was handled so poorly because it does tarnish what good the movie did try to accomplish.

  • A Time to Kill insults me as a Southerner, I want them to edit the movie to remove the Klan.

    There aren’t any gangs in Nigeria, they have all evolved into sitting behind a computer screen trying to scam old women and the technology challenged.

  • Rick

    oh good lord. No, no, no! no editing, no re-makeing, no changing, leave as is. this is a good movie. If Nigeria doesn’t like it, then tough. they don’t have to see it. it is a movie. entertainment purposes with a message that is deep and profound. Are there nigerian gangs? well duh! there is gangs all over the place. no matter where you go you will find them.

    did the united states get pissed and demand an apology over colors?

    no matter what you have, people are going to find something to complain about it.

    tell them to get over themselves and stand up for the freedom of speech no matter who it offends.

  • Dim

    There is a reason why they are Nigerians, Johanesburg has a very powerful Nigerian crime syndicates. This part of the movie is actually based on reality.

    If anything look at alien population numbers growth.. this is how apartheid fell in the end. If you look at it from this point of view the whole movie is not at all anti-apartheid but is pretty much racist (in our politically correct obsessed world that is)

  • I called it – everyone here thought I was crazy even when my criticism was centered on how Neil Blomkamp designed a film were his message could be misconstrued and the solution was rather simple. Please submit apologizes in written form and triplicate.

  • JakeTheFatMan

    Australians are offended by Crocidile Dundee. They need to remove all references to Paul Hogan.

  • Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanh!

  • swarez


    “We are not happy about it because it portrays Nigeria in bad light… We have written to the producer and distributor of the film, Sony Entertainment, expressing our displeasure and demanded an apology and to provide passport and bank information so we can forward a sum of $100.000 to help save the family members of Dr. Jahali Mumbai.”

  • Bas

    There are two things i can’t stand in this world: people who are intolerant of other people’s culture, and the Nigerians.

  • Chris


  • Ayo

    FIRST OF ALL, as a Nigerian American, I would like to point out how ignorant some other commenter are, making statements that generalize Nigerians’ opinion of the movie with Time to Kill and Crocodile Dungee. EVERYBODY KNOWS, that the KKK is no longer running around lynching NEGROES, BUT, the ignorance of Americans about the world will be furthered by the mention of cannibalistic idol worshipping Nigerians, WHEN its 50% Muslim and 40% Christian in NIgeria.
    ESP mr. bas, who apparently cant stand NIgerians

  • sing it sister!…or brother?

  • Bas

    Ayo, if you had seen Austin Powers 3 you’d know I was joking, so I asume you haven’t and take no offense. On the other hand, the joke is there in plain view, so you should pay more attention in English class.

  • I’ll take a Ugandan over a Nigerian any day of the week. Most Nigerians are Voodo-Cannibals. Not all. Probably about 75%. The other 25% are pirates.

  • @ Ayo, the name of the movie is “A Time to Kill”, you left out the “A”, it’s not a big deal, but it sort of is. I hate how people always claim Americans as being ignorant, everyone is ignorant, not just us.

    The Klan still exists, just because they aren’t actively hanging people from Oaks out front, doesn’t mean they aren’t still active and evil.

  • pcch7

    lol, as if they´re gonna get an apology for a movie.. I would be disappointed if Blomkamp apologised for it, it´s a movie. Soon we´ll have the germans demanding apologies left and right

  • I hate that a minority cannot be portrayed in a bad light w/o someone bitching. Why can’t they realize that these are PEOPLE being portrayed in a bad light? Race comes second.

    Only the ignorant will think “all Nigerians must be like this”; and only the ignorant are racists and we’ll never be able to change that.

  • Most Nigerians are as portrayed in the film.

    The UN estimates that approximately 75% of Nigerians practice either voodoo, cannibalism, or both. Over 50% are Olympic level long-distance atheletes.

    Siply stated: Running, and eating people are the two things Nigerians do best… Sort of like Zombies.

  • MJS

    I did find it odd that the bad guys were Nigerian. I look at a map and Nigeria doesn’t seem to be anywhere near South Africa. Doesn’t South Africa have gangs of its own?

  • Rick

    “I hate that a minority cannot be portrayed in a bad light w/o someone bitching. Why can’t they realize that these are PEOPLE being portrayed in a bad light? Race comes second.’

    that lays it down right there

  • stevie_baby

    This is stupid. Friggin Nigerians whining again. They did exactly the same thing when the Playstation 3 ad came out in USA which humourously poked fun at Nigerian internet scams and was later edited out.

  • Swarez

    By a complete coinkidink I just received this by email.

    “Legal Practitioner, Solicitors & Advocates.
    Marlin Place, Milton Road, Cambridge.
    Telephone: +4470359 76601

    My name is Palmer John;

    I work with a consulting Firm in London, UK. I am conducting a standard process investigation involving a client who shares the same name with you and also the circumstances surrounding investments made by this client at Barclays Bank Plc. My client died intestate and nominated no next of kin to inherit the title over the investments made with Barclays Bank Plc.

    The essence of this communication with you is to request that you provide your information to make you the next of kin to inherit the Five Million British Pounds as next of kin to the deceased. Please fell very free in sending your details as stated below:

    (1). Full names:
    (2). contact address:
    (3). Phone:
    (4). Cell phone:
    (5). Age:
    (6). Occupation


    Yours in service,
    Palmer John Barrister”

    I love how they are always trying to use refined language in their letter and fail completely.

  • “Please fell very free”

    I feel very free after I orgasm.

  • Its interesting how everyone here is so quick to bring up the Nigerian 419 scams because as studies have found it is this superior, western, uneducated position that allows these scams to succeed. And in saying that, more justification to the D9 debate on its protrail of Nigerian.

    From a recent Chicago Tribune Article:
    “But what’s perhaps more remarkable than the take from 419 scams is that people still fall for them. Even the Nigerian Embassy in Washington has issued warnings about such schemes. “YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED AGAIN!!” reads an all-caps disclaimer on the embassy’s Web site. Officials from the Nigerian Embassy did not return calls seeking comment.

    Why do people continue to take the bait? The explanation is more complex than simple greed and stupidity, said Andrew Smith, a professor at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom. Smith wrote an article this year for the academic journal Cultural Studies titled, “Nigerian Scam E-Mails and The Charms of Capital.”

    In it, he argues that scammers skillfully exploit Western notions of Africa as being chaotic and Africans as being unsophisticated and “needing white guidance or support” in capitalizing on their resources.

    “They make offers which, however extraordinary, also fit in with what we have long been told is the natural, expected relationship [between whites and Africans],” Smith wrote in an e-mail. “This is also why, of course, on the streets of Nigeria, there is some celebration of the ‘scammer’ as someone who is taking a kind of historical revenge against the greed and arrogance of white people in their dealings with Africa.”

  • Rick

    rus everything you put just pepetuates the notion that whites and blacks are different. For example. they wan’t to have equal rights but we(as in america) have laws like affirmitive action, or hate crimes. They want to be treated the same but they wan’t to be called “African Americans”. Why? if color is not an issue why arn’t you just an American? you people from canada, do you call them African Canadians?

    It’s this type of biast racist thinking (that the government of Nigeria is guilty of) that get’s people so offended at stuff like this. WHy can’t they understand that this is just a story. Based on fictional people and event’s. Maybe we should apologize at how poorly the aliens were treated?

    I’m so sick of this political correctness. Afraid to show or say something that might offend someone when getting offended is a choice. Either everything is ok to write about, or nothing is.

  • Justice

    wow, who would have thought about something like this could happen. Oh that’s right, me, when I said that Blomkamp’s portrayal was racist. We can’t pretend that there is no color because it’s ignoring the effects of hundreds of years of European colonialism. To pretend it has all disappeared and has no impact on modern day societies is ignorant at best and delusional at worst.

  • Swarez

    It wasn’t racist.

  • fatbologna

    Yeah, I’d say D9 was just a story. Stereotypes exist for a reason.

    Just as Canadians all slurp Maple syrup, chow down on Ham(Canadian Bacon?), live in igloos, and say “eh”, and “aboot”; Americans are all rednecks who fuck their sisters, eat Macdonalds, listen to pop music, and generally get fatter; Germans click their heals, wear Leaderhosen, eat sausage, and hate Jews; Britains have rotten teeth; French are all pussies; Chinese are bad drivers and swindlers; Jews own the world; Aussies drink Foster’s and hate black people; Japanese are all business men perverts; Russians are Vodka swilling fascists; Italians are slimy sleazebag gangsters; Mexicans are border-jumping free labor etc. etc.

    All of these things are true… Sometimes.

    Not 100% of the time. But these perceptions originated SOMEWHERE. To use a stereotype in a film may be irresponsible, but the closer it is to being somewhat true, the more likely the represented people will take offense and immediately act defensive. I think where the Nigerians and anyone else offended by societal generalities go wrong is assuming that people actually think that said generalities represent all of a people/race. We’re all adults here. We know that 100% of Africa isn’t made up of Voodoo practicing Cannibalistic gang members.


  • Rick

    “We can’t pretend that there is no color because it’s ignoring the effects of hundreds of years of European colonialism. To pretend it has all disappeared and has no impact on modern day societies is ignorant at best and delusional at worst.

    are you serious right now??? Are you like….a racist yourself. because of the terrible things that happend we should remain focused on a negative that should have no placement in life what so ever?

    I’m not saying pretend it dissapered. i mean get over yours or others skin color. You shouldn’t see someone as white, black, or brown. besides, you can not hope to focus on the bad and hope to achieve the best out of people. because in the end it will only harness tension, bigotry, and resentment.

    tryin to say or believe there is a difference between you and me as far as color is both racist and ignorent.

    now you also bring up European colonists. That’s only as far back as you can go? yep, let’s blame everything on the anglo saxons. what about Rome, and Greece? What about persia and Babaloynn? What about the jews? they have been slaves and a symbol of extreme muslim hate and called for destruction for centuries. What about Africa? African’s inslaved African’s. The Myan’s and Aztec’s had slaves.

    So before you go pointing the finger of blame at the anglo’s you need to recognize that we were in line with an already rich and long history of racist and horrible thinking. I’m not saying it’s right, i’m just saying we joined the club.

    But you can never get passed that and get over yourself by holding onto it. forgiving and letting go is not the same thing as forgetting.

  • Moremi

    I am Nigerian.i’ve seen the movie ‘district 9′.i was toatally pissed as i sat there and watched the movie.i left wondering why would they do that?.but i must say u all made me feel better about it especially fatbologna.there r still ppl who practice voodoo, its possible there r cannibals, we’ve gt crime, we’ve gt cheats, but after all’s said and done, i’m still proud to be Nigerian, to be to all ignorant ppl who think every stereotype is 100% true… is gonna be a little bit more angry and uninteresting.

  • “must say u all made me feel better about it especially fatbologna” – first time that’s ever happened