Bintu-The Musical brings Nigeria’s northeast crisis to the stage

Ene Okwanihe, Lagos


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has presented the premiere of Bintu – The Musical, at the MUSON Centre in Lagos state, South-West Nigeria.

The theatre production is a bold and thoughtful dramatisation of the humanitarian impact of the crisis in Nigeria’s north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

WFP tapped into Nigeria’s vibrant performing arts and entertainment industry to tell a story of conflict-driven hunger, resilience and humanity.

Paul Howe, WFP Representative and Country Director in Nigeria, said the organisation hopes that the play will generate and spark more conservation on the crises in the North-East.

“We hope the play will spark conversations around the crisis in the North East and lead to greater engagement of all parts of society – the private sector, government agencies and individuals – boosting efforts to achieve zero hunger in Nigeria”

The play was Written and directed by Agozie Ugwu, a Nigerian playwright who teaches performing arts at the Nile University of Nigeria in Abuja, the play uses powerful song, dance and poetic performances to depict people’s struggles, their will to survive and the vital humanitarian assistance they receive.

The play follows a young girl called Bintu, whose dreams of going to university were dramatically cut short when insurgents’ stroke, Bintu and her friends found refuge in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), where they received humanitarian assistance and she slowly began rebuilding her life.

Bintu – The Musical, whose premiere in Lagos will be followed by a showing in Abuja in the first quarter of 2020, is based on the real-life experiences of people caught in the conflict which has driven an estimated two million people from their homes. Nearly three million people struggle to meet their food needs in the three crisis-affected states.

Since 2016, WFP has been providing a support for vulnerable families affected by conflict in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, supporting internally displaced people, returnees, young children and pregnant or breastfeeding women with food and nutrition support.

In 2019, WFP and partners have served an average of 800,000 people with food or cash every month.