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Page last updated at 11:35 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Nigerian director's home attacked

Iyan Tama
Iyan Tama's film included banned singing and dancing

A mob has attacked the house of a jailed film director who defied Islamic censors in northern Nigeria.

Dozens of men broke into the house of Hausa movie mogul Hamisu Lamido, family friends said on Monday.

Mr Lamido, known in the Kano film world as Iyan Tama, is currently serving a 15-month sentence for releasing an uncensored film.

The intruders threatened to "deal with" his wife and "teach them the lesson of their lives", according to reports.

His wife was forced to beg for the lives of her children before the men left the house, friends told local media.

No-one was injured in the attack.

Jailed

Mr Lamido was jailed in December.

He was charged with releasing a film without approval by the Kano State Censor's Board and operating an unlicensed film production company - charges he denies.

This harassment is political, they want to deal with him
Emma James
Colleague

His lawyers are challenging the court's decision.

A website dedicated to getting him released has posted scans of documents they say prove the producer had permission to make the film.

The film, Tsintsiya (The Broom in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria), was finished during a six-month ban on film-making declared by the Kano State Islamic authorities.

He says the film, a Hausa version of West Side Story, was exempt from the ban because it was funded by the US embassy in Nigeria.

It was filmed outside Kano state and wasn't released there either, Mr Lamido says.

The film features singing and dancing, also banned by the censors.

Election fall-out?

"This harassment of Iyan Tama and his family is political," said director of photography on the film Emma James.

"Iyan Tama contested for the governor's position in the last election and they want to deal with him."

The ban on filming was introduced after a mobile phone clip of a well-known actress having sex with her married boyfriend was circulated.

After the ban was lifted the censors announced tough new restrictions.

Islamic authorities say that the ban on singing and dancing on screen was necessary to protect Hausa culture against the influence of Indian Bollywood films, hugely popular in northern Nigeria.



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