The average Kenyan has spent a significant portion of their life binging on Nigerian movies. Nollywood enjoys a religious following beyond the country’s borders. Perhaps, it’s their simplistic, easy-to-understand plotlines. Or, their deep culture openly flourishing under dark magic.
Most likely, it’s the rich plethora of gifted actors and actresses gracing their screens and theaters.
Who can forget Aki na Ukwa – that troublesome, mischievous pair of kids? How old were you when you realized they were grown-ass adults with wives and significant number of kids?
Well, there’s another iconic Nigerian actor, Pete Edochie.
Edochie is a big deal in Nigeria. He’s a pioneer in Nollywood, and has a cache of ageless movies under his belt. He’s been honored with an Industry Merit Award by Africa Magic and Lifetime Achievement by the African Film Academy – no mean feat.
One day, Edochie goes to his church to sell a movie (Kenyan thespians, here’s a lesson). He’s accompanied by his crew, as most famous people are.
In Nigeria, the youth that goes down the wrong path are called ‘Area Boyz’. They are infamous for all kind of debauchery – killing, robbing, and rape. In some instances, kidnapping.
On that day, the resident Area Boyz realized a God-sent opportunity for some serious Naira has fallen onto their laps.
“Hey, buddy buddy, na we go nab tis actor man do got much Naira…” I wasn’t there, but I can feel the vibe.
They ‘borrow’ a car, and drive it to the church. They later claimed the gunfire was supposed to be warning shots, but unfortunately three people are shot in the scuffle. They order Edochie to ‘come with’.
The actor ain’t ruffled, though. His captors are young adults, so he starts talking.
They tell him that politicians in the country are ripping the country off and so they decide that they too are entitled to some portions of that cake. They claim the government doesn’t take their plight into consideration.
As he distanced himself as an individual far from the excess of the government, they grew fond of him. They respected him, and were quite benevolent.
They decided to release him.
In post interviews, Edochie spoke of his ordeal:
“All I know is that I was able to pick a cab that took me to a hotel in Awka. They told me they had no business kidnapping me at all. They did not manhandle me. They did not blindfold me, they did not gag me. They did not hack me. They did not tie me as they said I was their father.”
“And somehow they knew a lot about me that I am good to people and that I assist people, particularly, the down-trodden. They did not hide their faces and discussed freely with me.”
“They bought me some drinks, made sure I did not ‘get alcoholically dry’. You know as an individual, if you find yourself in a situation like that under siege, you complicate your situation if you experience internal alcoholic drought. But I was praying in my heart.”
“So, by the grace of God they lubricated my system and at the same time encouraged me to feel the pulse of their hearts.”