When I started this blog, I thought I would just be talking about my move to Nigeria and Law School, though I will not talk about the latter (see former post). I also decided that I would say some things about Nigeria but I did not know to what extent. I didn’t know that when I would comment on what is happening in Nigeria, I would be educating myself further. I don’t know when my passion for Nigeria began. I can remember my parents taking me to go to boarding school in Nigeria and after every term, I would be desperate to come back to England. Seeing Heathrow or Gatwick made me so happy. It was when I was about to do my final year and I was told that I was going to do it in England that I cried and fought to finish it in Nigeria. So far, my education in Nigeria is by far the best educational experience I have had ever till date. God knows I did not enjoy A-levels. 🙂
When I commented on terrorism in Nigeria, I learnt things and I can say that I have learnt even more from watching Fuelling Poverty, a documentary by Ishaya Bako which was narrated by the great Wole Soyinka. The documentary, supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), was completed in November 2012 and features people such as Femi Falana, Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Seun Kuti, musician and son of the legendary Femi Kuti and Mohammed Fawehinmi, lawyer, activist and son of one of the late legendary Nigerian lawyer Gani Fawehinmi.
I heard about this and I saved it on Youtube to watch later. I just got round to watching it today. According to the Huffington Post, 6 days ago, the award winning film has been banned from “distribution and exhibition”. Nigerian authorities believe that the documentary “… could spark violence & potentially threaten national security’. I can understand that but do they really think that Nigerians have to wait for a documentary before they’ll take action? Did the documentary incite Occupy Nigeria? Don’t think so! That was the corruption from government officials and their private counterparts that caused that! It has been banned from being shown in Nigeria but have they forgotten that it does not stop people from other countries from watching it?! Both the director and Wole Soyinka have requested for permission for it to be shown in Nigeria but a letter dated April 8th from Nigeria’s National Film and Video Censors Board prohibited it. The decision was based on the documentary being likely to incite or encourage public disorder and undermine national security. Really?!
These are people who were promised subsidies, like they have been promised from consecutive administrations, only for it to be taken from them soon after. Fuel prices were increased by 115%!!! As someone mentioned in the film, the removal of the fuel subsidy was not just limited to fuel prices, it also affected the prices of goods. Some of these goods were doubled in price and customers could not understand why. This is a country that is one of the greatest oil producing countries and doesn’t have much to show for itself. We had refineries but they were shut down and now we’ve got international companies refining our oil and selling it back to Nigeria. It is not something that can be fixed over time but my question is does the Nigerian government not feel some element of shame when they are buying back their own oil. In my opinion, which you can dispute, Nigeria should be on par with countries like Dubai and even go beyond their levels. Nigeria has so much potential which is why it is so sad that when I hear, read and see all the things that are happening. I have read comments from people wishing and waiting for Nigeria’s oil production to end so that the government will be stuck and for the corruption to reduce. I’m not sure whether I agree with that.
My next post will be about the things in the documentary that stood out to me.
Here is the Documentary:
Thanks for reading!