Banned by Nigerian government, Fuelling Poverty garners more accolades

Fuelling Poverty, a documentary made by Ishaya Bako, documents the fuel subsidy scam scheme.

Fuelling Poverty, a film documenting the huge scam that bedevilled the petrol subsidy scheme in Nigeria, has continued to receive wide acclaim despite condemnation and proscription by the Nigerian government.

The latest commendation for the documentary is its nomination for African Film Development Award (AFDA).

Created by a young Nigerian and film maker, Ishaya Bako, the documentary set out to recall the angst in the heart of Nigerians when on January 1, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the total removal of petrol subsidy causing massive protests that crippled government and commercial activities.

The documentary must have caused some discomfort in government as on April 8, the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board, NFVCB, banned the airing and distribution of the film.

In a harsh toned letter to Mr. Bako, the NFVCB described the documentary as “highly provocative and likely to incite or encourage public disorder and undermine national security”.

The Nigerian censor board went ahead to issue a subtle threat along with a warning to Mr. Bako to desist from distributing the film.

The ban, critics said, was a setback for Nigeria’s democracy and freedom of press as it signified a descent to the gestapo style of clamping down on the media; adopted during military regimes.

The ban did not deter Mr. Bako’s peers and colleagues in the film industry from recognising the great art and message of his work; as on April 2, he was adjudged winner of the Best Documentary Category at the 2013 edition of the African Movie Academy Award, AMAA, awards held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Critics called it vindication for the film and its producer; and a humiliation for the Nigerian government.

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Nigerians, especially the online community, went wild with praise tweets and the hitherto unknown film became a hit on YouTube, receiving over one thousand per cent more views than it had prior to its ban.

About three months later, on July 16, when the euphoria seemed to have died down, recognition again came the way of Fuelling Poverty.

The African Film Development Awards, AFDA, nominated the documentary as one the films that have contributed to the growth and development of African Cinema.

The President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, will be in attendance at the event to show support for the movie and others nominated by the AFDA.

For Mr. Bako, he is glad to receive the recognition from both AMAA and AFDA.

“It is an honour,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

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