The Soldier Sentenced to death for Asking a Question

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In 2019 I had the rare privilege of gaining access into Nigeria’s biggest Correctional Centre- Kirikiri Prisons. I went into both maximum and medium prisons to document the experiences of those in there.

I interviewed over 10 of the in mates at the time.  Most were in there for huge crimes including murder, fraud and racketeering. Whereas those guilty admitted to committing the crimes for which they were in, there were some were held unjustly too.

It was during that period that I met the young man Ayo who became the face of the documentary. After few minutes of conversation with him within the premises, I knew I wanted to tell his story.

Ayo served in the Nigerian Army and joined the group who fought Boko Haram in Borno, but he was sentenced to death and later got ten years imprisonment for asking their Commander where are the equipment they promised to bring to fight and capture Boko Haram who were by the day winning the war against the Nigerian Army. The answer to that question became a life of torture, pain, starvation in Kirikiri Maximun Prison

Fast forward to 2020, I got the opportunity to feature him and he bore his heart out. He told of the pain and betrayal he felt. He said he needed healing, he needed to tell his story, the world needed to hear his story and he is seeking justice. It was a huge privilege therefore to be the one to tell his story to the world.

I went to where he was putting up with his wife and children and his wife shared the tough life they lived while his husband was incarcerated.

My desire was to be able to capture his story in the way it happened and to solicit help for him. And that I did. I never knew it will go viral and get attention the much it did. I must say it is an honour and that today his life has changed for better.

Amaka Okoye

Amaka Okoye

A seasoned and an award-journalist who has practiced both in and outside of Nigeria. She has covered varied beats but her forte is Conflict and Crisis Reporting. She majors in reporting terrorism, banditry and abductions in the Northern part of Nigeria.

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