Eromo Egbejule is easily one of the most decorated journalists working today. As the editor of the Africa Report, he has helped shaped narratives about the continent while giving young journalists a platform to find their own voices and tell their stories. With bylines for some of the worlrespected news platforms and a groundbreaking investigative journalism series that shed light on the crisis of Boko Haram, Egbejule has positioned himself as one of the country’s most important storytellers.
But he is taking it one step further by revisiting one of the country’s lesser told stories through a new medium. Partnering with CNN host and filmmaker Arit Okpo, Egbejule revisited the town of Atigwo-Jesse, in Ethiope West local government area of Delta state to mark the 21st anniversary of the Jesses Pipeline fire, a man-made disaster of gargantuan proportions that happened in 1998, and left 1000 plus people dead. Blamed on illegal oil bunkering, and refuted by the residents of the town, the Jesse fire has become one of those Nigerian ghost stories, remembered only by the towns they affect and effectively ignored by the government.
As the most deadly pipeline fire to have ever happened in the country, Egbejule’s timely return to the topic combines journalism, film making and storytelling to ask very vital questions. And perhaps video can help bring to stark relief the severity of the event and the ripples it continues to create till today.
Jesse premieres at AFRIFF next month, but for now, here’s a trailer.
Never thought I’d put out a film before a book but some stories are too gripping to wait in line for their turn.
The most horrific pipeline explosion in Nigerian history – 21 years ago today. A small town tragedy that aptly atomizes the #NigerDelta‘s fix.
This is that story. pic.twitter.com/VDaiIn5q4l
— Eromo Egbejule (@EromoEgbejule) October 17, 2019