A new documentary titled, Fuelling Poverty, has been produced by Nigerian filmmaker Ishaya Bako. Bako is a young maverick cineaste best known for his award-winning short feature Braids on a Bald Head.
Bako gave New York film-goers a sober look at the events of January 2013 which lead to the largest popular uprising on the African continent. The film’s official screening took place at the Lincoln Centre Theatre in New York and received a private showing at Sahara Reporters and Global Information Network in New York.
The 30-minute documentary examines the chronic misuse of fuel subsidies in Nigeria and how politicians have exploited the phenomenon to enrich themselves. It also projects the extent of ‘People Power’ and the diverse ways Nigerians react to the salient issue of corruption. The film traces the history of subsidies in Nigeria and how successive governments have exploited them and also portrays the impact on ordinary Nigerians.
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Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka appears in the film which combines real footage of committee hearings, forums, demonstrations and interviews with animated slides and simple graphics to create an altogether engaging experience.
According to Executive Producer Jude Ilo, the documentary has been received very well in Nigeria but TV stations are refusing to give it airplay even when the producers are offering to pay for airtime.
Last year, the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, despite popular opposition, removed fuel subsidies, doubling the pump price of petroleum products overnight. This sparked nationwide protests which ended when leaders of labor did a handshake deal with government, quashing the popular will for change at the top.