Voiceless, Ofime’s Hausa-language movie hits cinemas Nov. 20

by Araayo Akande

Rogers Ofime’s latest movie, ‘Voiceless’, a Hausa language feature film will open at cinemas on Friday, November 20.
Directed by Robert Peters and starring Esther Asabe Phillips, Adam Garba, Rekiya Attah, Sani Muazu, Uzee Usman and Yakubu Mohammed, the movie excerpts from the 2014 Chibok girls abduction to tell a story of love, betrayal and anguish.

It centres on Salma (Philips) and Goni (Garba), captured by the militants. While one is a skilled mechanic forced to work for the insurgents, the other was abducted alongside other girls and made to satiate the lust of the militants.

Brought together by adversity in the abductor’s camp, they find love, strength and the will to escape back to the life they were taken away from. But it’s a different story when they get home. While Mama Salma (Attah) is overjoyed to get her daughter back, even with an addition, Baba Salma (Muazu) can’t bring himself to accept the fact that his innocent daughter has become a mother.

Sadly, the lovebirds who had dreamt of a ‘happily ever after’ following their escape from the insurgents’ camp face another battle: the acceptance of their love and marriage by Salma’s parents.

Meanwhile, it’s betrayal season among the insurgents. Unknown to their leader, Lafiya (Mohammed) who is totally against girl-child education, his second-in-command, Banza (Usman) is eyeing his post. Will he succeed? And will the lovebirds overcome the resistance to their relationship? What happened to the other abducted girls? The taste of the pudding is in the eating. The answers would be found by seeing this Hausa-language movie well sub-titled in English and with excellent special effects.

Ofime, who had earlier made ‘Oloibiri’ featuring Richard Mofe Damijo and Olu Jacobs among others, also explores the plight of male Boko Haram abductees and the difficulty of re-integrating them in this movie.

Commenting on the stigmatization of the male abductees and the difficulty of reintegration after a press preview, Ofime said: “It’s a fact that the boys are being stigmatized, not just the girls. There is no structure for their re-integration into the system and we don’t talk about these things. So, we wanted to make a movie where people can look beyond the Chibok girls’ abduction to what happened after. We wanted to tell people that is also important that we must find a way to integrate them back into society. There could be a lawyer, there could be a doctor among them, so that was the inspiration.”
On why he made the film and the choice of Hausa language, the producer said: “The fact that I don’t live in the North does not mean I cannot help to rehabilitate victims of Boko Haram insurgents. It’s a way of rehabilitating people in whatever way we can. We made the film because we believe the message will resonate more if it is done in the indigenous language. The story is too strong for us to do it in the English language. If it had happened in Western Nigeria, we would have done it in the Yoruba language. The actors also enhanced the movie because they spoke in their native tongues; it was believable. If we, I mean filmmakers, start to tell our stories in the languages that they belong, that story will resonate better.”

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