Original Film Title: Awaiting Trial
Director’s Name: Chude Jideonwo
Writer’s Name: Chude Jideonwo, Damola Morenikeji, Biola Olaore, Mfon Ekpo, AMA Psalmist Visuals
Producer: Chude Jideonwo, Gbolahan Gafar, Otito Wilfred Aso
Country of Origin: China
Country of Filming: China
Runtime: 1 hour 21 minutes
The 2020 #EndSARs protests in Nigeria got the attention of the world and the support of everyone from Beyoncé to President Biden, putting the spotlight on the worst symptom of the country’s mass incarceration problem: Awaiting Trial.
That social movement grew against the backdrop of #BlackLivesMatter putting violent criminal justice systems, rising incarceration rates, and police brutality on the front burner of global conversation.
With the Awaiting Trial system, citizens who are caught for crimes – even for the smallest of crimes – are incarcerated without a charge for months, and years – some up to 20 years for victimless crimes and minor misdemeanours. Many of them die or disappear in prison and police custody. This is a story not just about systems and inequality, but about the people whose lives are destroyed. It presents the devastating ramifications not just in terms of social justice, and fairness, but in terms of decimating families, terrorizing communities, and creating a culture of fear. The terror has not ended with two protests.