Ifeoluwa Olujuyigbe

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When eight-year-old Ese, daughter of Tina, meets Jamil in the shanty they call home, flooded with women of easy virtue parading themselves in scanty clothing, the last thing she thinks of is a friendship that would change her. Her mother thinks she shouldn’t befriend anyone because her friends are ‘wuruwuru people’, so at first, Ese is cold and reclusive. But when she realizes Jamil is just as lonely as she is, suffering the same things she suffers for being the offspring of an ashewo, she gives him a chance and their friendship becomes a glue that binds not just them, but their warring mothers, and inspires ‘when I grow up’ dreams, typical of children their age and status.

Bariga Sugar defies convention and follows a common story through the eyes and narrations of a child in an uncommon way. It is themed around friendship, dreams and loss; three angles that are most unlikely to stem out of a story set in a home of commercial sex workers.

Of dreams, Bariga Sugar brings to the fore the Nigerian e-go-better reality that your life would change in the near future, and that you would build a big house and become a doctor and make tons of money. It dwells on hope as the opium of the masses, keeping them awake and walking. Everyone has a dream, so the viewer easily connects. Of course, some dreams come true, but how many? For Ese who loses her best friend at a young age, lives in a hostile environment that sends kids to get condoms and witnesses grown women fight over the men they go down on, these dreams are what they are; dreams, and life looks down on them with skeptical disrespect.

Of friendship, Ifeoma Chukwuogo’s film tells a story of fortuitous meetings in unlikely places, and how these meetings come with rainbows and roses that light up a life. It tells the story of fleeting Jamil moments that come. When Ese says she would love to be a queen when she grows up, a queen like Madam Shuga, Jamil is quick to shut her up and make her realign her aspiration to something more honorable. ‘No, like the queen of England’, he says. Because the likes of Madam Sugar and Daddy Cool are the only role models they really know, and unless there is a Jamil to jar them out, these are the paths they are most likely to follow.

Of loss, Bariga Sugar reminds us that nothing is guaranteed. It tells of how a life can change by an encounter, and how it can be altered by an event. For Ese, Jamil’s passing leaves her scarred, wiser, a better reader and a big dreamer. The fulfilment of that dream is a different tale entirely, but the Jamil encounter has set the ball rolling.

For Bariga Shuga, exploring these depths of reality makes it shine, apart from its stellar acting and flawless story. Set in some of the unsightly parts of Lagos and in the mid-nineties, Bariga sugar is rich in its language, deliberate in its dialogue, smooth in its execution and gripping in its resolution. Though only twenty minutes long, Bariga Sugar stays with you for so much longer. It is hard work that pays, story-wise, message-wise, output-wise.

Written by Ikenna Edmund Okah and Ifeoma Chukwuogo, the movie does one thing many a Nollywood film isn’t getting right: It casts brilliant child actors. In a world that has Nickelodeon and Disney, with actors like China McCain or Zendaya who sing and dance and act with brilliance, it is alarming that the third biggest film industry in the world would cast kids in films who keep looking into the camera and reciting a script with as much life as an old dusty cupboard. And so this is impressive; that Ese and Jamiu, played by Halima Olanrewaju and Tunde Azeez respectively, while still needing a little more work, pull off their roles effortlessly, tugging the emotional nerves of our hearts till they bleed tears. More experienced actors like Tina Mba bring the film further home. Subtle additions do not go by unnoticed: The change in hairstyles depicting the passage of time, and the Goldspot bottles depicting the period, the bad English by the children, reflective of their environment while being carefully subtitled, the mummy and daddy drama reflecting the children’s ideologies of what a typical family looks like. The repetition of the beginning narration at the end and the change in perspective about friends show attention to detail.

And so we wait, thirsty for more films like this, with such depth and thorough execution. And who’s to say our expectations are not valid? Nollywood is just getting started.

When eight-year-old Ese, daughter of Tina, meets Jamil in the shanty they call home, flooded with women of easy virtue parading themselves in scanty clothing, the last thing she thinks of is a friendship that would change her. Her mother thinks she shouldn’t befriend anyone because her friends are ‘wuruwuru people’, so at first, Ese is cold and reclusive. But when she realizes Jamil is just as lonely as she is, suffering the same things she suffers for being the offspring of an ashewo, she gives him a chance and their friendship becomes a glue that binds not just them, but their warring mothers, and inspires ‘when I grow up’ dreams, typical of children their age and status.

Bariga Sugar defies convention and follows a common story through the eyes and narrations of a child in an uncommon way. It is themed around friendship, dreams and loss; three angles that are most unlikely to stem out of a story set in a home of commercial sex workers.

Of dreams, Bariga Sugar brings to the fore the Nigerian e-go-better reality that your life would change in the near future, and that you would build a big house and become a doctor and make tons of money. It dwells on hope as the opium of the masses, keeping them awake and walking. Everyone has a dream, so the viewer easily connects. Of course, some dreams come true, but how many? For Ese who loses her best friend at a young age, lives in a hostile environment that sends kids to get condoms and witnesses grown women fight over the men they go down on, these dreams are what they are; dreams, and life looks down on them with skeptical disrespect.

Of friendship, Ifeoma Chukwuogo’s film tells a story of fortuitous meetings in unlikely places, and how these meetings come with rainbows and roses that light up a life. It tells the story of fleeting Jamil moments that come. When Ese says she would love to be a queen when she grows up, a queen like Madam Shuga, Jamil is quick to shut her up and make her realign her aspiration to something more honorable. ‘No, like the queen of England’, he says. Because the likes of Madam Sugar and Daddy Cool are the only role models they really know, and unless there is a Jamil to jar them out, these are the paths they are most likely to follow.

Of loss, Bariga Sugar reminds us that nothing is guaranteed. It tells of how a life can change by an encounter, and how it can be altered by an event. For Ese, Jamil’s passing leaves her scarred, wiser, a better reader and a big dreamer. The fulfilment of that dream is a different tale entirely, but the Jamil encounter has set the ball rolling.

For Bariga Shuga, exploring these depths of reality makes it shine, apart from its stellar acting and flawless story. Set in some of the unsightly parts of Lagos and in the mid-nineties, Bariga sugar is rich in its language, deliberate in its dialogue, smooth in its execution and gripping in its resolution. Though only twenty minutes long, Bariga Sugar stays with you for so much longer. It is hard work that pays, story-wise, message-wise, output-wise.

Written by Ikenna Edmund Okah and Ifeoma Chukwuogo, the movie does one thing many a Nollywood film isn’t getting right: It casts brilliant child actors. In a world that has Nickelodeon and Disney, with actors like China McCain or Zendaya who sing and dance and act with brilliance, it is alarming that the third biggest film industry in the world would cast kids in films who keep looking into the camera and reciting a script with as much life as an old dusty cupboard. And so this is impressive; that Ese and Jamiu, played by Halima Olanrewaju and Tunde Azeez respectively, while still needing a little more work, pull off their roles effortlessly, tugging the emotional nerves of our hearts till they bleed tears. More experienced actors like Tina Mba bring the film further home. Subtle additions do not go by unnoticed: The change in hairstyles depicting the passage of time, and the Goldspot bottles depicting the period, the bad English by the children, reflective of their environment while being carefully subtitled, the mummy and daddy drama reflecting the children’s ideologies of what a typical family looks like. The repetition of the beginning narration at the end and the change in perspective about friends show attention to detail.

And so we wait, thirsty for more films like this, with such depth and thorough execution. And who’s to say our expectations are not valid? Nollywood is just getting started.

Entry Score Distribution
5.3
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Users' score:
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4.20/6.0
0.84/4.0
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Adegbola Goodness 8 months ago

Brilliant review 😊

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Oluwafunmilayo Oni 8 months ago

Interesting piece! 10.0

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Adedoyin Ibigbami 8 months ago

Beautiful plot .I love it

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Doris 8 months ago

I enjoyed every piece of this, I have just watched this movie through your pen!

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Wunmi Akinfemiwa 8 months ago

This was amazing! Couldn't have been better. 10/10

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Tunji Somade 8 months ago

Amazing. 10/10

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Oluwasegun Olukotun 8 months ago

This is a 5 star review for me. Blaze on Ife.

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Oyeyemi Abdullahi 8 months ago

Good job ma'am!! More ink to your pen 😁😁😁

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Dèjì Balógun 8 months ago

Now I just want to see this movie. Great work, Ife.

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Bakare Damilola 8 months ago

A 9/10....very nice plot

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Bussie Adepoyigi 8 months ago

Very on point!!!

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MC Matwot 8 months ago

Interesting piece.. 10 points

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Ayobami Alabi 8 months ago

Ife and her ability to keep you locked down. This is great. 10/10

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Olatona Adefunke 8 months ago

Brilliant! 10/10

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Emmanuel 8 months ago

Great plot. 10point

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Mecoyo Collins 8 months ago

Absolutely awesome...

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Dotun Oni 8 months ago

This is a great piece! I'll give 10.0

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Mary Alfa 8 months ago

Well thought out Expertly written Amazing storyline

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Adekunle Seun 8 months ago

Brilliant piece, nice plot too

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Agunloye Justina 8 months ago

Excellent review. So good to see you sharpen this awesome skill you have. Keep it up.

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Ajasa Oluwayinka 8 months ago

Awesome! I scored this beautiful piece a 10

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Igbalajobi Ayobamigbe Joseph 8 months ago

Feels like I've watched the movie already. 9/10

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Ifegrace Dada 8 months ago

Beautiful!

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Ifeoluwa Yewande Adesuji 8 months ago

Amazing line of words...kudos Sis.. I rate you 10

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Theophilus Onojetah 8 months ago

wonderful piece

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Ibukun Olajuyigbe 8 months ago

Beautifully written.

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Paulina Inyang 8 months ago

Ife, you bring my love for literature back over again. Very beautiful review, I've not seen this movie, but I've seen it already. Great job you're doing girl. You'll have my 10. :-)

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Damilola Okooboh 8 months ago

Intelligent review

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Ife Fuwape 8 months ago

Brilliant. Great job

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Ife Love Akande 8 months ago

Lovely Piece!! You deserve a 10/10. Welldone Ife

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Adesioye Arowosola 8 months ago

Beautiful 10/10

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Lola AgbajeWilliams 8 months ago

Excellent!

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Emem Alexandra AkpanNya 8 months ago

Thumbs up, Ife :)

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Kunlebukie Pelumi 8 months ago

Great review Ife...10points.

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Tolulope Okunuga 7 months ago

Wow Ife, you are a talent to watch out for. Great Job and well done!

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Olanike Olajuyigbe Akinbodewa 7 months ago

I rate this high because the movie casts brilliant child actors like Ife said. Yes, let's give the kids space to make their dreams come through. Let Nollywood encourage children in their industry. I love kids and I work with them. Ife, good work. 10/10🙋

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OluwaTea Oluwaleye 7 months ago

Ah... Mazing! Surely a 10/10 for me!

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AdeLola Edema 7 months ago

Good job Ife. Your review makes me want to watch the film already. Well done.

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Funmilayo Akinbode 7 months ago

Succinct review

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Abiola Oreagba 7 months ago

10/10! 10/10! 10/10! Sikena!

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Dokun Oyedotun 7 months ago

Fantastic read...insightful and incisive 10/10

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Umweni Osarodion 7 months ago

👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Now i just want to see this film😳. Good job Ife

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Emmanuel Akintunde 7 months ago

Highly impressive. Weldone Ife!!!

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Abiodun Akinnagbe 7 months ago

Excellent review!! Well done

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Jenyo Omolola 7 months ago

Excellent work IFE. Keep it up

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Bilkis Ajiwokewu 7 months ago

It felt like I am seeing the movie. Great review!

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Onikanni Tomiwa Herbert 7 months ago

Jst perfect!!!!!!! It s a 10

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Ufuoski Cakes 7 months ago

Woww interesting dear i score you a 10

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Ibukun Victor 7 months ago

Nice one 10/10

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Tope Emiola 7 months ago

Well, Ife Olujuyigbe, this is very well done!

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Odukogbe Olalekan 7 months ago

Wonderful review... 10/10

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Ishola Damilola 7 months ago

I love it

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Kolawole Elijah 7 months ago

Super dope initiative... Kudos miss!!!

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Abraham Som 7 months ago

11/10 Fabulous writer, fabulous story.

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Akinteye Olaide 7 months ago

Well done Ife. Always on point.

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Oluwadamilare Ataba 7 months ago

Brilliant... Bien

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Eye Olamide 7 months ago

Always a blessing reading your thoughts. Sabi girl. 10 over 10

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Dare Ibitoye 7 months ago

wonderful

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Ogunyemi Oluwatomisin 7 months ago

very beautiful piece ife👍

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Awotokunbo Oladee 7 months ago

Who says you can't watch a film by reading a beautiful review. You got this spot on dear. More ink to your dancing pen.

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Xavier 7 months ago

Nice review. 10/10

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Fasanmi Oluwapamilerin 7 months ago

Great piece Ife

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Bamidele Aziz 7 months ago

This is indeed a great job well done, keep it up.

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Timmy Gold 7 months ago

Interesting nd brillian treview

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Israel Sunmola 7 months ago

A tale of reality and culture of our people living in a sub bon in lagos Nigeria

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Antia Idoreyine 7 months ago

10/10

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Adegoke Damilola 7 months ago

10/10

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Okpala Francis 7 months ago

Wow! I love this.

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Monalisa Bee 7 months ago

Good luck nice plot

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Ilo Xenia 7 months ago

10/10👍👍

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Ilo Xenia 7 months ago

10/10👍👍

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Adaku Nwachinemere 7 months ago

Hits the heart ❤️

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Ugochi Mmeje 7 months ago

Awesome review.

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Oresanya Tijesunimi 7 months ago

Great one

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Oluwole Busayo 7 months ago

Good diction. Revealing. Pacy. Comprehensive yet succinct. This is a decent job.

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Bolade Adebayo 7 months ago

A great and easy read 10/10

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Bolade Adebayo 7 months ago

A great and easy read, I'll give it a 10

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Olúwágbémilékè Adélékè 7 months ago

My dearest Ife, you are just so amazing. Great review my Lady. A review well written!

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Olúwágbémilékè Adélékè 7 months ago

My dearest Ife, you are just so amazing. Great review my Lady. A review well written!

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Annable Ayim 7 months ago

This is lovely.10/10

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Kelv Art 7 months ago

Wow,u write like m too,such a deep tought,only from th gifted minds

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Femi Adebimpe 7 months ago

Brilliant. 10/10

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Olivia Sose 7 months ago

This is brilliant!

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Justina Chibueze 7 months ago

Wow. Brilliant. 10/10

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Onyeagba Chiamaka 7 months ago

Nice piece ma'am. Scored you 10

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Amusat Joshua 7 months ago

Cool

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Taiye Oguns 7 months ago

Scintillating.

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Mercy Ekeh 7 months ago

10/10 shikena.. It's awesome.

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Bolanle Adelakun 7 months ago

Nicey...

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Peace Olagunju 7 months ago

Very brilliant review Ife, keep it up gurl

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Kate Frank 7 months ago

Lovely Review.

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Omotomi Lola 7 months ago

This is good one from you.

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Joe Aito 7 months ago

This is really good work

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Tósìn Akínyemí 7 months ago

Well done Aunty!

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Olujimi Ayomide 7 months ago

I love this

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Jayeoba Dammy 7 months ago

I love this! Beautiful write up! 10/10

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Jayeoba Dammy 7 months ago

I love this! Beautiful write up! 10/10

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William Godson 7 months ago

This excellent piece just unveil.. nice one, would love to re broadcast and probably Produce as top rated.

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Adeosun Tolulope 7 months ago

Great review

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Akinyemi Damilola 7 months ago

Quite a piece!

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Adeleke Sayo 7 months ago

Awesome review... Well done Ife

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Abel Abimbola 7 months ago

Wow. .. I love this review. Well done Ife

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Benard Obalaja Saturday 7 months ago

This is really amazing 10/10

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Opeyemi Oduyemi 7 months ago

Amazing story. This is a great piece.

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Oladimeji Mary 7 months ago

Well done Job. Can't wait to see the movie

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Angela Momoh 7 months ago

Beautiful review!

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A.iMercygrace 7 months ago

This review is awesome and now I am going in search of this movie...a definite 10 out of 10

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Aderire Adeoti 7 months ago

Good stuff!!!

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Pamela Akaniro 7 months ago

I love it! Beautiful work. Welldone, Ife 👏

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Adanna Ogbonna 7 months ago

Just plain beautiful

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Oguntuashe Micheal 7 months ago

Nice piece 10/10

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Nkiru Nnozuba 7 months ago

Beautiful piece dear

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Amupitan Omotayo Dare 7 months ago

Great work! 10/10.

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Samuel Adesubokan 7 months ago

A great critique of the film's essentials.

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Adesanwo Tunde 7 months ago

That was thoughtful and unique.

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Mobola Oluwapelumi 7 months ago

This is absolutely Amazing!

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Olugbenga Asaolu 7 months ago

This is a good story that has better informed our interventions in the development world. We have showed to video to high claibre audiences in the development sector and has influenced our strategy for the coming year. Thanks for putting this together. It has contributed something to the body of knowledge in social work. Wish you all the very best. 10/10

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