Documentary On Nigeria’s Most Fatal Pipeline Explosion, Premieres This Week At AFRIFF

November 12, 2019

LAGOS, NIGERIA – On November 13th, award-winning journalist Eromo Egbejule’s directorial debut Jesse: The Funeral That Never Ended premieres at the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in Lagos. The documentary film is the previously untold and emotionally gripping story of another community in the oil-rich Niger Delta whose gift became a curse.

Twenty-one years ago, a massive leak pipeline passing through the community, connecting the south and north of Nigeria, triggered an explosion that ultimately resulted in the death of at least one thousand people, with hundreds more undocumented and tens of survivors with ghastly scars. Jesse: The Funeral That Never Ended, the rehashing of that tragic story as it happened in 1998, is produced by Arit Okpo, the host of CNN African Voices Changemakers.

“The documentary is the resurrection of an impeccably tragic story of a people who were hemmed in all sides by what should have been a blessing for them”, says Egbejule. “With all the stories coming from the Niger Delta, it was important for us to tell this one lest they stay forgotten and become drops in the ocean.”

It captures the crucial moments before and after the pipeline exploded, through the eyewitness accounts of survivors of the long-lasting inferno, relatives of the dead, first responders at the scene and community leaders.
Narrated by Singto Saro-Wiwa whose father, the playwright and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged this month in 1995 by the Sani Abacha regime for his fervent criticism of the region’s exploitation, it also includes interviews with Nnimmo Bassey and the late Oronto Douglas, two contemporaries of the elder Saro-Wiwa.

The film threads the environmental degradation of the Niger Delta, the evolution of its people into collateral damage to continue the conversation on the region’s bittersweet relationship with crude oil. In Okpo’s words, “the story of Jesse is the story of the Niger-Delta; a people for whom a gift has become a tragedy, a story of lives changed forever and of scars that exist long after the rest of the world has moved on.”

PRODUCER

Arit Okpo is a TV presenter, documentary filmmaker, and voice-over talent. She is the Host of CNN African Voices Changmakers, where she tells the stories of Changemakers across the African continent. She is also the host of Untold Facts, a web talk show exploring the perspectives and experiences of LGBT people in Nigeria.

Arit produced and presented the current affairs show The Crunch and Nigerian politics show Naija Politics for Ebonylife TV.  She was Producer and Interviewer for a mini-documentary on Grammy nominee Seun Kuti as part of the United Nations African Allies Series. She has also produced mini-documentaries showing the work of the Obudu Conservation Centre and the British Council’s CreativeEnterprise Program.

DIRECTOR

Eromo Egbejule is a journalist who covers mostly conflict, politics, culture and human identity with a historical lens across West and Central Africa. His writing and photography have appeared everywhere including The Guardian (UK), Al-Jazeera, Washington Post, Telegraph, Financial Times, Times of London, The Atlantic, The Africa Report, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and others. 

He has covered among other things the Boko Haram insurgency in northeastern Nigeria, gender violence and flooding in Sierra Leone, immigration in Guinea, the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, Ebola epidemic in Liberia, landslides in Sierra Leone, pastoralist crisis across the Sahel, Sino-African investment in Djibouti as well as sustainability in the Peruvian Amazon. A 2016 CNN Multichoice Journalism Awards nominee, he is currently a Dag Hammarskjöld Fellow at the UN HQ in New York.
In 2017, Egbejule was a visiting lecturer and researcher at Malmö University, Sweden. Jesse: The Funeral That Never Ended is his debut film.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

February 6, 2020

There are very few things as triggering for women as the topic of hair. Whether its weaves, weave length, wigs, the great frontal V closure debate; there’s always something to talk about. Now if extensions are topic enough to get women riled up about hair, wait till you get to the topic of the very […]

April 1, 2020

Brymo — “Strippers + White Lines” Brymo, one of Nigeria’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters, just released his seventh studio album, Yellow, and “Strippers + White Lines” is its astounding lead single. On the Mikkyme Joses-produced track, Brymo sings about his struggles with depression, his unhealthy coping mechanisms and fighting to find the light amidst all the […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these quizzes.

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

June 14, 2020

Have you ever been with someone so horrible that you swore to never date again? Yes? Well, do you know that one or more of your exes probably feels the same way about you? You never thought about that, huh? Thankfully, this quiz is here to let you know just how much of a hassle […]

More from General

March 10, 2022

Offers opportunity for young changemakers from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to join the Global Citizen Fellowship Program for a year-long, full-Time, paid placement International advocacy organisation Global Citizen has today announced that application for the 2022/23 Global Citizen Fellowship Program powered by BeyGOOD is now open until 29th April 2022. Fifteen young African changemakers: […]

March 8, 2022

Triller, the AI-powered, open garden technology platform for creators, has joined #BreakTheBias, the global campaign in honor of  International Women’s Day (#IWD2022) on Tuesday, 8th March.  All Triller platforms will feature stories from 30 incredible women in the music and entertainment industry who are working to end gender bias, along with a specially curated #BreakTheBias […]

March 4, 2022

In view of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, MTN has announced it will be offering free international calls and SMS to all existing prepaid and postpaid customers, effective immediately. This offer is aimed at supporting customers to stay in touch with their loved ones while eliminating associated International Direct Dialing (IDD) costs due to high […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X