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Big Men highlights violations in Niger Delta

06 November 2014, 09:28Chinedu Okoro

Lagos - A locally-produced film highlighting the problems characterizing communities that live in oil-rich parts of the country will be among the productions to feature at the upcoming Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Kenya.

Big Men, which exposes the lack of transparency and the corruption in oil contracts with multinational companies in Ghana, and the dire environmental and social effects on the people who live in the oil belts of Nigeria, will be staged on Monday.

“As Kenya seeks to exploit its recently discovered underground natural resources, the film raises the question: Is oil a blessing or a curse?”, organisers, the Human Rights Watch, said.

John Githongo of INUKA Trust will be the guest of honour at an opening reception.

A cautionary tale about the toll of American oil investment in West Africa, Big Men reveals the secretive worlds of both corporations and local communities in Nigeria and Ghana.

Director, Rachel Boynton, gained unprecedented access to oil companies in Africa and had created an account of the ambition, corruption, and greed that epitomized Africa’s “resource curse.” The film uncovers the human impact of oil drilling and includes footage of militants operating in the Niger Delta.

The 99-minute long production provides a nuanced and compelling illustration of the responsibility that a range of actors bear for the environmental, economic, and political harm inflicted by resource extraction.

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will mark its fourth year in Nairobi on November 10-14, with a programme of films to raise awareness and spark critical reflection and debate while encouraging activism.

The films will be shown in the Alliance Française de Nairobi, Monrovia/Loita Street. Admission is free.

“This year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Nairobi brings an array of thought-provoking films that raise issues ranging from the rights of women and sexual minorities to murky dealings of oil corporations and the scope of international justice,” said Laetitia Bader, researcher at Human Rights Watch and coordinator of the 2014 Nairobi screenings.

“These films give voice to people who courageously risk their lives and freedom to challenge abuse of power, discrimination, and injustice.”

– CAJ News

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