Delta Boys, 2012, 55 minutes. Co-produced and edited by Aaron Soffin.
DELTA BOYS explores the untold stories of the Niger Delta militancy – rebels who band together in the face of corrupt government oppression in this oil-rich region of Nigeria – following the lives of two militants: Ateke Tom, the “Godfather” of the Niger Delta Vigilante Force, and Chima, a 21-year-old who left home to join the fight. The film also documents life in a tiny fishing village caught in the crossfire of the conflict. Mama, a 22-year-old,struggles to give birth to her first child with no access to modern medical care, while raids are launched from a militant camp across the river. The personal stories of Chima, Ateke, and Mama reflect a broader global struggle between entrenched power and corporate interests and an underserved population.
Nigeria is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the United States. Yet, despite this natural wealth, the majority of Niger Deltans live in poverty. Ateke’s militants, along with other groups, have called for a greater distribution of wealth and jobs. When their requests have been ignored, they’ve attacked oil installations and pipelines, kidnapped foreigners, and made the entire Delta a no-go-zone.
But many feel that while the Niger Delta struggle is legitimate, the militants’ motives are not so pure.