Voices Uprising, a Film by Joana Adesuwa Reiterer

As the idea of a nation embodying wealth, peace, and unity turns 60 years, a long-evolving uprising expands to the streets. The mission was to end the notorious police units SARS, but soon many Nigerians began to demand good governance and an end to repressive politics. Our CEO, a filmmaker passionate about understanding the diverse issues that affect SMEs in Nigeria, decided to explore this event closely. “It all started on October 10th 2020, or better said, some days earlier, as a SARS unit shoot a young man dead at Ugheli on October 3rd. 

You must have a job to complain the protest hinders you from accessing your job. 

At first, the inconvenience it caused professionals and entrepreneurs brought the issue to our attention. We began to follow the media reports closely and realised that this is beyond inconvenience for entrepreneurs and workers. If we have to create a county where the atmosphere to do business is conducive, we all have to be part of it. It is understandable that professionals and business people must access the roads to get to their work. Nigeria comprises millions who might need decent work or business to look forward to. 

Voices uprising by joana Adesuwa reiterer
Olaseni Ajai, film protagonist.

Mass protest amidst the pandemic and strikes. 

When the protest started, the covid pandemic had hit the world hard. While many countries in the west had begun to develop relief packages and aid for their professionals and entrepreneurs, palliatives were being hidden in warehouses around Nigeria. Many schools turned to homeschool, for which the prerequisite is the internet. But how many Nigerians can afford unlimited internet access for education in that form? Moreover, the universities had been on strike for weeks by then. Things were not looking good for the country.

The issue of police brutality has been on for a very long time. Around 2016/2017, a group of activists started the awareness via social media. And some had entered into a conversation with the police force, helping to create new legislation. However, Nigeria does not suffer from a lack of legislation but execution. Who implements what, and who is accountable? This also takes us back to the question of governance, which many protesters felt was a significant issue to tackle. 

Soon October 20th struck, and at around 7pm, protesters were shot at. Not only at the Lekki toll gate but in other parts of the country, according to Seun Kuti, a musician and activist who is a lead protagonist in the film Voices Uprising. A protest that started off peacefully turned into evidence of police brutality. Many countries in the world suffer from police brutality. The George Floyd case in the US is an excellent example amongst many. It was a case that moved the world and led to multiple protests around the globe. 

Voices Uprising, Synopsis

Police brutality by SARS ignites an uprising beyond the streets to the minds of Nigerians who question the idea of a nation embodying wealth, peace and unity. 

In Africa, police brutality can not be pinned down to racism. It is more connected to corruption, and social and economic capital, which is another means to divide a population into different classes and apply other principles to them. Watching the events of October 20th, it became inevitable not to create a documentary about it. Many would want us to keep our dirty laundry inside but that is the power we give to perpetrators – silence. 

Silence is their weapon.

Silence is a weapon used and justified by mediocre reasons to keep the status quo. Shame is one reason. As a black nation, we do not want the world to think we are violent; we want to rebrand our image, so only the glorious aspects of our collective existence must be relieved and paraded for the world to see. 

Voices uprising by joana Adesuwa reiterer
Chijoke Iloanya | missing since 2012

Are we gatekeepers of the status quo?

What about the millions of people whose dignity and pride have been injured, broken, and stolen? Should we, the entrepreneurs and professionals, become gatekeepers of the status quo by ignoring the plights of others so that we can protect our reputation? Is it not more sustainable to tackle the issues at hand and create a fair society? We began our research to understand how police officers became so brutal. What systems are we upholding that make our environment fertile for this kind of character? We spoke to Osai Ojigho, the country director of Amnesty International Nigeria. We met with victims of SARS and also spent time listening to Obianuju Iloanya, whose brother was taken away by SARS in 2012. 

I thought I knew. But I am ignorant – Voices Uprising.

Joana Adesuwa Reiterer

It was a heartbreaking experience to listen to these stories. But how did we get here in the first place? Was it about more than an idea – Nigeria? A nation that was created to embody wealth, peace and unity? This leads us to explore our pre-colonial history. During our archive material hunt, we stumbled across so much footage that our CEO said, “I thought I knew much about the country in which I was born and grew up, but I know nothing. These archive materials show a great journey that we are yet to understand. The reading materials, over 3000 pages of diverse text, reveal facets of stories about us that are yet to be told”. 

More film in the making.

It has been 2 years of research, working on the film on the side while building Joadre other programs. Working on this film has brought about many ideas for future fiction and documentary films we will produce. We look forward to partners who would like to work with us in the area of production investment and distribution of our works. To see some of our previous films where we focused on human trafficking, please visit our film page here. You can get more information about our new documentary, Voices Uprising on its website. 

Voices uprising by joana Adesuwa reiterer
Finished product from a Nigerian SME featured in beats on teh film.

Connect with us, and get our app.

Our Joadre organisation runs a film production branch which aims to connect African filmmakers with their European counterparts to develop projects that cut through the shared historical experiences of both continents. 

Alongside our film production, we created our one-stop digital incubator app to bridge knowledge and service discrepancies for African students and Savvy entrepreneurs looking to start a business. Get the app (Android version) here. For IOS users, a web app is available here at https://tribe.joadre.com. Sign up for our newsletter here to get consistent resources via email. If you want to contact us, use our contact form or consult us through the app. 

Thank you for reading to the end. 

Cheers

Joadre

Joadre Editorial
Joadre Editorialhttp://www.joadre.com
Joadre Editorial team is an international mix of experts in the field of human rights, entrepreneurship and global politics. We are passionate to educate and create equity for Africans and the Africa continent.

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