Uncategorized

Our experience filming Kwara’s blue-eyed family

On Monday, August 3, 2020, my cameraman and I set out to work as we always do. Our job borders essentially on deepening powerful stories with pictorial evidence.

As they say, a picture tells a story better than a thousand words. But in my opinion, I think a video tells a story better than a thousand pictures.

On this particular day, we chased stories as always to get the best of events for our online readers. We visited the residence of the Njokus and had an emotional session with her mother and brother and also did the same with Chima’s mother. They are relatives of victims of a container which fell on the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway recently.

Upon reporting back to the office, my Team Lead, Mark Phylix and Head of Social Media, Kemi Abimbola, were having a conversation with someone on the phone.

After the call, Phylix said me and my colleague were chosen to go for an assignment outside Lagos and it was scheduled for the next day. I was so pumped for the journey. It was about the two kids with blue eyes and their mother.

Before then, I had heard of them and was happy to know that I would be the one to handle the story for our authoritative platform to inform our esteemed followers and readers.

Quickly, I informed my colleague and we planned for the next day. On Tuesday, August 4, we began our journey to Ilorin and got to the State of Harmony around 4pm. In about 30 minutes, we were in the compound of the Risikat’s family (the blue-eyed mother of two) but greeted with bad news. A sister of the blue-eyed lady had just lost her son — Suleiman. A small crowd gathered at their residence to condole with them.

I reasoned that we had a problem on our hands. How do we express sympathy and get our story to Lagos early enough? How do we introduce ourselves to the blue-eyed lady who was one of the mourners? Already, the eyes of the sympathisers surveyed us as we alighted from a tricycle with backpacks. We were lucky that the blue-eyed lady approached us and found a quiet place for us somewhere in the compound (or so we thought). In a few minutes, children in the neighbourhood clustered round us curiously, wondering what magic we were about to perform. We unpacked our bags and brought out our equipment. In no time, the kids became noisy and we had to cope with them as they interrupted the interview at intervals. Kausarat (Risikat’s first daughter) appeared to understand our mission as she kept smiling at the camera and only stopped when we specifically wanted her to do so. Soon, Risikat’s younger sister came to find out why she excused herself from the group and seized the opportunity to speak with us as well although she begged to leave after a few minutes.

Risikat’s story was touching. She said she was mocked as a result of her natural endowment, adding that what pained her most was that her innocent kids were also derided by other children. She said many people referred to her eyes as witch eyes and she was used to that but she didn’t like how other children treated her kids because of their blue eyes.

According to her, her husband’s family members urged him to disassociate himself from her because of her eyes.

While the interview was on somewhere in their compound, the mourners increased and Risikat left to join her family members. About one hour and 30 minutes after we got to her residence, we concluded the session though unable to speak with her mother. Oyindamola (the lady who first posted about the girls on social media) came with her siblings and we spoke with her alongside one of her siblings who initially noticed the girls.

Mission accomplished, we needed to start editing early to serve Nigerians the story fresh and ‘hot.’ Urgency was attached to the story as we couldn’t risk the competition getting it before us.

For Bode and I, developmental journalism is our objective to drive sustainable progress in the country through the power of the media. Editing done and video uploaded later. I was casually checking through social media on Wednesday, August 5, when I discovered that the video had 45,000 views less than one hour on our Facebook platform alone.

With a scream of joy, I informed my colleague who was attending to other issues in the hotel room where we lodge after sending the video for editing. After the interview, we collected Risikat’s account details as we already guessed that many people would want to help her and her daughters. We went for another story in Ilorin and left for Osogbo thereafter to speak with the family members of a young man who was in a coma for three days after a cop on patrol hit his head with a gun. Sadly, the man died a few days after.

As the story of the blue-eyed lady became an internet sensation, we returned to Ilorin to speak with her husband. However, we hit a brick wall as neither Risikat nor her family members wanted to hear anything about him.

No one contacted wanted to disclose his house address or give his mobile number. We refused to be discouraged and eventually got him for an interview to defend himself. When we tried to speak with two persons he referred to as his family members, they vehemently refused to speak on the matter. While one said he couldn’t speak because he needed to investigate what actually happened, the other didn’t give a reason for refusing to talk. Funnily enough, while the interview with the man lasted, some children not too far away mockingly screamed ‘oloju blue’ (blue eyes).

Upon returning to Risikat’s residence to speak with her mother and also ask her how she’s enjoying her new-found fame, we saw many journalists. Bode and I simply waited to be the last to interview her. A grateful Risikat expressed joy and shock at how her fortune had changed quickly. She told us that people from several parts of the world had been calling her and she’s now laughing all the way to the bank.

In the end, the story was amazing. For Bode and I, we are grateful to be part of the hard working team of PUNCH Video Department. We looked back at the Kwara trip with ecstasy and greatly inspired to continue to use our platform to inform, educate and entertain the public.

 

 

Topics

Connect With US




Loading…

%d bloggers like this: