Hona Africa and Kayode Ogundamisi Produce Hard Hitting Documentary ‘Coping with The Boko Haram Insurgency’

Renowned Activist and Social Commentator on Nigerian and international affairs, Kayode Ogundamisi Produces Hard Hitting Documentary ‘Coping with The Boko Haram insurgency’. “Coping With The Boko Haram Insurgency” is a Two Part Documentary filmed in Nigeria in the aftermath of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign in Chibok.

Part one, entitled "Reclaiming Maiduguri" focuses on Maiduguri, a 30 minute drive from Sambisa, the stronghold of Boko Haram. It examines how the people are trying to survive and coping with the Boko Haram insurgency in the town. It looks at the contributions of volunteers from a variety of sectors including healthcare and education as well as NGO organizations that refuse to leave the supposedly dangerous areas. It also looks at how the people have been surviving, featuring discussions with members of public in markets in Maiduguri, and an opportunity to see places that have been targeted by Boko Haram terrorists. 

Part one also shows the relic of the mosque which was founded by the late leader and Founder of Boko Haram Mohammed Yusuf, where he used to live, at the railway compound. He used to rally and address thousands of followers and people at the site which was the foundation of the Boko Haram movement. These areas are seen as unsafe and not accessible to journalists, even those chaperoned by the Nigerian Military, as local residents are still viewed as still being sympathetic to Boko Haram. 

The Documentary explains the urban nature of the insurgency and the often misunderstood collaboration between military and the local/civilian Joint Task Force.  The civilian JTF are volunteers who have organized themselves into vigilante groups to address the Boko Haram insecurity in Maiduguri and the Documentary will focus a bit on how they operate. Kayode also spoke with the Borno State Attorney General on the legitimacy of a vigilante militia in the state.  

Part Two of the Documentary, "Inside The IDP Camps" focuses entirely on the Internally Displaced Persons; their new lives as refugees, their living conditions, their experiences of being displaced, their suffering and how they have overcome the challenges.   Part Two also includes interviews with volunteers working in the camps based in Maiduguri and Abuja, which are a reflection of other IDPs camps across Nigeria. It concludes with an exclusive interview with the Special Assistant on Media to the President of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Adesina.

The Documentary succinctly describes and shows the resilience of people in the face of adversity, and also in some ways, how ordinary and regular the lives of those affected by the violence really are.  Yet even with their “ordinary lives” the stories of survival are in fact extraordinary.

The Documentary reveals the shocking fact that Boko Haram was initially supported by large numbers of people, who genuinely thought that the preaching of Boko Haram founder provided an alternative to the neglect of Nigerian governments over the decades.  It focuses on this in particular with regards to the corruption of and impoverishment of Northern Nigeria by the Northern economic and political elite.  The film also shows how people have accepted the crisis as a way of life, and developed ways in which to cope and to survive.  As illustrated through the interviews, a lot of residents said they could differentiate between the gun shots of the Nigerian Military with those from that of the terrorists and planned their activities and lives accordingly.   

‘Coping with The Boko Haram Insurgency’ shows that corruption remains an issue in the IDP camps.  There are large number of children who are out of school given that schools have been closed for over two years in Maiduguri, an after effect of The Chibok Girls kidnapping. Alternatives to educate the children and prepare them for the future remains are few and far between despite the efforts of NGOs. 

 The people of Maiduguri need help and support in order for them to go beyond coping with Boko Haram to finally living without them completely.

The film will be broadcast exclusively on www.saharareporters.com  Premium Times Nigeria and BEN TV SKY 182 on the 1st October 2015.

Notes To Editor

To arrange an interview with Kayode or a member of The production team at Hona Africa please email info@ariatupr.com

Kayode Ogundamisi is a commentator on Nigerian and international affairs. He was involved in the Nigerian pro-democracy struggle. He can be reached by email odamisi2000@yahoo.com and on twitter @ogundamisi

Please find direct quotes from Kayode Ogundamisi on his experience making this documentary which can be used in press features.

Going forward, I have used the Documentary to make contact with the government of Nigeria through the Office of the Vice President.  There are now plans to develop new models of education to reach all the kids in IDP camps, with the Vice President setting up a Committee to review IDPs in Nigeria and making changes in policies and practices as necessary and needed.  There is however a need to continue to put sustained pressure on government to make sure IDPs are not forgotten and that the government is able to effectively deal with IDPs, as it seems like government is overwhelmed at the moment. A number of activists and bloggers have followed my initiative visiting Maiduguri and donating to IDP’s across Nigeria.

IDPs cannot be kept for too long in camps, once their areas of prior residence have been secured, the military need to make sure that they get people back into their communities so they are able to safely continue their productive and social lives, with law and order restored, Nigeria at this time cannot risk the IDP camps becoming permanent, with the additional risk of the camps becoming lawless havens, a potential breeding ground for the next generation of terrorists and criminals.   

After a yearning to go to North East Nigeria and experience, first hand, the devastation of the region, and resilience of the people, in the face of incessant terrorist attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria was triggered by a simple question that was asked of a guest of mine on the live TV show that I host on a UK based Chanel Ben TV, ‘Politricks with KO’. 

‘Does it rain in Maiduguri?’ that is what someone asked me stated Fatima Abubakar, a Nigerian from Maiduguri, studying in the UK, and on her way back home to Maiduguri to contribute her bit, in the process, rejecting job offers in the UK. Fatima was a guest and highlighted how ignorant people were, including Nigerians, on not only about the Boko Haram insurgency and terrorist activities, but also about Maiduguri and North East Nigeria in general.  Shocked that this kind of question will be asked by a fellow Nigerian about a place in Nigeria, and the fact that bloggers, including myself often blogged and ran commentary about Boko Haram and the North East Nigeria without having any personal experience of the people and their tribulations, it elicited a need in me to visit the place and experience what people were going through without depending on the reports of others.  I decided to use my holiday and personal resources to explore the intersectionality of conflict generated by terrorism, resilience and recovery, using North East Nigeria as an example. 

Visit Maiduguri Like The Inhabitants Would.

There were practical issues to take into consideration in getting to Maiduguri – there are two ways to get into what has been declared more or less a conflict ‘no go area’ – go as other journalists, international and local, have done before, by getting permission from government and accompanied by the Nigerian military to guarantee safety but be constrained on areas to visit, who to speak to and only having  ‘photo opportunity’ in ‘safe sites’; or go as a private citizen, arranging personal travel and taking the risk of being a terrorist target, but getting a more fulfilling experience, sharing intimately what the residents and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of the North East have been going through, and get their stories as told by themselves, and a perspective on government responses, at all levels.  I chose the latter, armed only with a video camera, a pair of Jeans and two shirts, One Hundred Thousand Naira ($501.83) and my a mobile phone. I was determined to make the visit independent of the state and relying only on local people to take me on their daily journey, to tell me a story I don’t get to see in the media and get a feel of what life is like in a region where bombings and mass killings have become a way of life.

3 Days and 3 Nights

My three day stay in Maiduguri, including visits to an IDP camp, interviews with Joint Task Force (JTF) civilian commanders, former Boko Haram militants, and ordinary citizens, to get a perspective of ordinary citizens of Maiduguri – resulted in this two part Documentary.  From my visits and sharing in Maiduguri, I was made to understand that apart from IDP camps in Maiduguri and North East Nigeria, there were also IDP camps in Abuja, Lagos, various parts of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon where people had fled.  This made me decide to also visit an IDP camp in Abuja, a place in Nigeria not usually associated with IDPs, also featured in the Documentary.