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Film highlights challenges of Niger Delta

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PHOTO: George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America

Environmental degradation in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria has again been underscored by a Nigerian multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker, Wilfred Ukpong, with his film, Future World, which won an award at International Tourism’s Borse Berlin’s Golden City-Gate Film Festival in Germany. It was in the Eco-Tourism category.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, who received the award from the organizers of the festival on behalf of the artist, formally presented it to him. The envoy was assisted by Senator Abdullahi Sabi, representating Senate President Olusola Saraki, at the formal presentation.

After the screening of the film before the audience, Saraki observed that the message in it is “quite clear and apt,” noting, “it is an early warning of the impending danger in the Niger Delta,” and advised that “all the stakeholders must take it seriously.”

He maintained that what was happening in Niger Delta has been captured by our own artist through Future World film, and unbiasedly recognised in Germany. He said, “We must congratulate the government of Buhari for the initiatives of starting the clean up of the Niger Delta, beginning with Ogoni land.”

Saraki, who also spoke on the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill, declared: “This 8th National Assembly has taken the bull by the horns. We have been making conscious efforts to ensure that we progress the passage of the law, which has gone through various readings. But I promise Nigerians that before the end of this Legislative Assembly, definitely the bill will be passed.”

While presenting the trophy to Ukpong, the ambassador noted, “Future World is a piece of work that provokes discussions around some of the most topical issues of the day: environmental pollution and climate change, youth employment and migration, energy mix and international trade.”

He added that the Nigerian government was already taking a good step in finding permanent solutions to the challenges.

While receiving the award, Ukpong said: “The seven-minute film narrative conflates around climate change, environmental pollution, and health-related issues and draws from true-life stories, and regional myths to create a captivating, abstract universe pulsing with some of the most profound historical, ecological, and socio-cultural issues of our time.”

He noted that it was produced to further raise the awareness on the level of degradation in the oil-producing area and calls for urgent solutions.

Among the guests at the event were Vice Chairman, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Mr. Udom Inoyo, Chairman/CEO of Thompson & Grace Investment Limited, Dr. Isaac Thompson Amos, sponsors of the film, Regine Hess, Deputy Head of Mission in German Embassy, Abuja, Mr. Wolfgant Jo Huschert, President of German Film Producers Association, and Director in Thompson & Grace Investment Limited, Mr. Otobong Amos.


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