Saturday, January 22, 2022

With Future World, Niger Delta’s challenges receive global attention

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Challenges of environmental degradation, as a result of oil exploration in the Nigeria Delta, continue to receive attention from creatives in the region, who are its unabashed activists for a regeneration of the devastated region, equitable share of its resources and development.

From poets, playwrights, novelists, photographers, and visual artists, the region is not short of campaigners holding up the international oil companies (IOCs) and the Nigerian government to account for the mindless devastation of the region, which has little or nothing being given back to it and its people.

Another campaigner for the region’s worsted environment is a filmmaker, Wilfred Ukpong, whose short film, Future World, recently won a prize at the International Tourisms Borse Berlin’s Golden City-Gate Film Festival award in Germany in the Eco-Tourism category. The ceremony had Senator Abdullahi Sabi representing Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who recently assured that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be passed into law by the eight National Assembly, which he presides over.

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While giving the status of the bill, which has passed through various reading at the National Assembly, Saraki 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.”

Saraki gave the assurance at the formal presentation of the International Tourisms Borse Berlin’s Golden City-Gate Film Festival award in Germany won by Nigerian artist and filmmaker, Wilfred Ukpong, with his film, Future World.

Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, who received the award from the organisers on behalf of the artist, formally presented it to him.

After the screening of the film before the audience, Saraki observed that the message in the film 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.”

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He maintained that all Nigerians have a responsibility to what is happening in the Niger Delta, which has been captured by our own artist through Future World, and unbiasely recognised in faraway Germany, and said, “we must congratulate the government of Buhari for the initiatives of starting the clean up of the Niger Delta, beginning with the Ogoni land.”

While presenting the trophy to Ukpong, Ambassador Tuggar 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 stat that government was already taking good steps to finding permanent solutions to the challenges of the troubled region.

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While receiving the award, Ukpong, a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker, said, “The 7-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 the film was produced to further raise the awareness on the level of degradation in the oil-producing area and to call 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, President of German Film Producers Association, Mr. Wolfgant Jo Huschert, and Director in Thompson & Grace Investment Limited, Mr. Otobong Amos.

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