When he was 18 years old, Ike Nnaebue left his home nation Nigeria for Europe. But the dangers forced him to give up in Mauretania. Now, he’s now back on the same migration route. This time, as a filmmaker.
These days, Ike Nnaebue is a famous "Nollywood” director, a prominent representative of Nigerian film. When he tried to emigrate to Europe in 1998, he couldn’t see a future for himself in Nigeria. Like so many young people in Africa, he dreamed of a better life in Europe - financially, at least. Now, camera in hand, he’s taking the same journey from Nigeria via Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali and Mauretania to Tangier in Morocco. Along the route he meets men and women who’ve turned their backs on their homes and who are intent on trying their luck in Europe - despite all the risks and obstacles.
Back in 1998, Ike Nnaebue gave up on his plans after meeting a stranger who warned him of the dangers. Ike ended his journey there and then - and never got as far as Europe. But returning to Nigeria without any money was out of the question. Ike Nnaebue spent two years in Gambia, where he was able to work on several theater and film productions. At the age of 21, he knew what he wanted to do with his life and went back to his family.
Nowadays, social media and TV reports show just how dangerous migration can be, with cases of enslavement, abuse and other crimes committed against those who undertake a journey of this kind. Stories that are impossible to ignore. That’s why Ike Nnaebue decided to retrace his footsteps and try to understand why so many young Africans are still prepared to risk everything for a better life.