Over 16,000 Cinephiles Visit CinemArena in Nigeria

Global Migration Film Festival

Benin City – Wednesday (19/12) marked the official end of the CinemArena movie caravan in Nigeria. A total of 16,700 people attended 28 shows across the country, in Lagos, Benin and Delta States — the first-ever screenings organized by the caravan in Nigeria.

CinemArena is an itinerant education and information programme that aims to raise awareness on the risks of irregular migration and share information about the alternatives of safe migration including opportunities for potential migrants in their home countries. Events also included theatre, dancing and other performances in both rural and urban settings. The campaign consisted of videotaped stories and accounts narrated by migrants themselves disseminated on social media platforms. The project is supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Development (AICS). Currently the caravan is in Nigeria carrying out its activities before it tours The Gambia, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Sudan in 2019. 

This year’s theme for the CinemArena is ‘irregular migration’. In Nigeria, over 11,500 stranded migrants have voluntarily returned home since April 2017, predominantly from Libya and Niger, under the auspices of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

The grand finale had 550 attendees including 15 stakeholders from Edo Taskforce against Human Trafficking (ETAHT), National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. Attendee Okojie Joy urged IOM not to relent in the awareness-raising campaign on the risks of irregular migration. “To reduce the occurrence of irregular migration, government should provide basic amenities for Nigerian citizens …Jobs should be created for people.”

At the grand finale in Benin City, Yahaya Idris, Secretary to the Hausa Community spoke about the community's existing collaboration with the state government in facilitating weekly discussions with men in the Mosques, motor parks and markets on the dangers of human trafficking and irregular migration. "This event is very good. We brought this event here so that if there are people with the mindset to travel irregularly or maybe they know people who engage in human trafficking, they can be informed of the dangers involved, of how people are dying in the desert and at the sea, as well as the punishment that awaits any trafficker when caught," he said.

CinemArena’s journey was followed by Overland, a production company based in Italy contracted by IOM to provide technical support throughout the implementation period.

The caravan’s arrival in Nigeria coincided with the third edition of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF), which featured documentaries and films that capture stories of migration, and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities. In Nigeria, the GMFF held screenings of Bushfallers – A Journey of Chasing Dreams in Abuja, Benin City and Lagos. The documentary, directed by Nils Benjamin Keding, tries to elucidate the motivations of young Africans to migrate. The film festival was in line with the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, which aims to promote safe migration through community sensitization on irregular migration and human trafficking.

The 2018 edition of CinemArena is the result of a new collaboration between AICS, the Italian Ministry of Interior and IOM; it creates synergies with the Aware Migrants project which aims to inform migrants of the potential risks of the journey across the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 803 645 2973, Email: jgalindo@iom.int

  • Attendees at the CinemArena. Photo: IOM