Connect with us


Brotherhood: Nigerian prisons, the postgraduate school of criminality (Review)



They have been numerous testimonies of the life behind the walls of Nigerian prisons. Beyond the common understanding of its inhuman state, records have shown that a lot of the inmates somehow find their way back to crime and back there. Findings establish that innocent individuals, from those who had a stint with crime to the downright hardened criminal, often become worse after a Nigerian prison experience. It’s safe to infer that the prison that ought to be a correctional facility has become an instructional facility for the advancement of crime and criminality – a sort of postgraduate school.

Jade Osiberu and Abdul Tijani-Ahmed’s story dubbed in Greoh Studios’ latest release, Brotherhood, captures the reality and eventualities of this failure of the government to put our prisons in shape.

Brotherhood is a crime and action movie produced by Jade Osiberu, and released for screening across Nigerian cinemas on the 23rd of September, 2022. The movie ensemble top Nollywood, Nigerian music, comedy stars, and an array of ex-Bigbrother Naija housemates in what seemed like a BBNaija reunion. The cast includes Toni Tones, Jide Kene Achufusi, OC Ukeje, Mercy Aigbe, Bright ‘Basket Mouth’ Okpocha, Zubby Micheal, Ronke Oshodi Oke, Sam Dede, Deyemi Okanlawon, Comedians Basketmouth and Adebowale ‘Mr Macroni’ Adedayo, musical superstars, Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana and Omawunmi. The BBNaija HM ensemble includes Tobi Bakre, Diane Russet, Seyi Awolowo, Dorathy Bachor and Boma Akpore.

The film was directed by the super talented filmmaker from Uganda, Loukman Ali, who is making his Nigerian directorial debut with Brotherhood movie.
Loukman Ali has a couple of films he has directed inclusive of: The Girl in the Yellow Jumper, The Blind Date and The Bad Mexican.


Summary of the Story

Brotherhood centres on the dichotomous life of twin brothers- Wale (played by Falz) and Akin (played by Tobi Bakre), who were thrown into the ‘trenches’ at a very young age when their parents were killed on New Year’s day. Their parents were making their way home from the traditional crossover service that had been held in church.

As orphans without any extended family support, the two young boys are caught in the menacing world of Lagos streets. Trying to survive meant they had to find whatever means to make ends meet. Soon, time on the streets honed their skills in a plethora of social vices with Akin leading his brother on the dire path of ruthless survival.

Akin would later go to jail for stealing anti-malaria drugs when Wale got very sick. That becomes a pattern in his life as he gets more desperate, trumping society in his fraught search for a life without lack. Wale, on the other hand, charted a different path outside crime and soon joins the police force to achieve his dream of fighting crime, motivated by the circumstances surrounding the death of their parents.

The contradiction in the chosen life paths of the brothers so strains their relationship and brews tension amongst them that they became each other’s nemesis, albeit still very much concerned about each other’s welfare.


Akin for the umpteenth time got out of jail with a sworn resolve never to return, but would somehow get reunited with an old friend (‘Cobra’, played by OC Ukeje) from the early years of petty street crimes. Cobra introduces him to the deadliest robbery gang in town, the Ojuju Boys and with Akin’s intelligent criminal mind, a grand heist plan that he and another inmate acquaintance back in jail had nursed was soon hatched. Wale ironically, gets admitted into an elite police squad that handles the toughest crimes. Soon the brothers, the best at their chosen career paths are made to face each other in a battle of good against evil, yet connected in their hearts by the bond of brotherhood.

Analysis of Plot Elements

Akin is the protagonist of the story, who hoped to beat life to the frailties of lack at all costs. He assumed he could snatch out fortunes from high society without necessarily causing any casualty. Akin’s exposure to the dark world of crime had not taken is pure respect for the sanctity of life out of him. His grand play was to make one big heist and retire to a crimeless life with newfound love. Akin’s purpose was to hit up, clean up, and move up the ladder without the recompense for his actions.

Akin’s twin, Wale, is the antagonist of the story, whose sole purpose was to ensure criminals get the consequences of their actions in the hand of the law. Though Wale has built a strong character for achieving his dreams in the build-up to the climax of the story, his hitherto stealth history with his criminal twin-brother becomes a wound when he finds love in the arms of the daughter of the elite squad’s ‘supercop’ leader.

The plot easily introduces the protagonist and the antagonist in the first few minutes into the film, setting up a strong personality distinction that can be followed throughout the film. As Akin’s purpose attracted all its propellers, Wale’s too got a graceful build-up. The progress of the brothers in their divergent paths formed the rising actions, each character acquiring formal and romantic relationships along the way to a head-on collision.


The story hits a crescendo when Akin’s gang wanted to double down on their earlier success of jerking a bullion van with a double, same-day robbery of two more bullion vans. This time on low intel, which Akin questioned and used as an alibi to ditch the gang and their plan. Akin’s soft forwarding toward his new girlfriend and the gang’s only female member brought him back into the disaster-bound plan. Just at this point, Akin had erroneously killed Wale’s father-in-law in self-defence during the first of the planned same-day twin robbery. The SWAT team and now his brother knowing he was part of the robbery that killed his father-in-law, are out for a vengeful and brutal attack when the radio came about the ongoing second robbery attempt.

The story begins to wind down as the various other characters within the gang got killed and the most vicious, Cobra, grassed everyone right at the heart of the deadly robbery and made away with the money, leaving them to their death.

The final moments of the story saw the brothers face each other in a gun duel, albeit Wale sorted to safely disarm Akin, his colleagues couldn’t let him go without a hit. As Akin falls into the lagoon from the top of bridge with bullet injuries, the plot’s closure was left open-ended, until it is revealed that he magically survived, recovered the stolen monies from Cobra, and eloped to live his dream.

Analysis of Creative Elements


Though the story is not entirely unique, the fine details and detour of the script make it worth viewers time and money. When to come to the nuances and how everything connects, it is brilliant storytelling as captured by the scriptwriter and interpreted by the movie’s director, Loukman Ali. For example, how Akin’s plan was conceived from a conversation with a fellow inmate at the prison, got human resources from a vicious gang who had come to rob him only for the leader to be his old friend, the connect with Sanusi (played by Boma), the ex-military arm dealer, all but galvanized the perfect spotlight on the security mess of the nation.


Also, the smart use of dispatch bikes as the courier for monies gotten at the robbery spot and eventual transloading into Eko Meat Van to obfuscate the loot trail sets the story up for an interesting viewers’ journey.

The dialogues too are rich, though on some occasions I failed to take the last leap to hitting the ‘quotable’ threshold. An instance is the scene where Cobra introduces Akin to Shadow (the secret head of the Ojuju Boys gang). Akin while downloading his grand plan to rob bullion vans to Shadow went with a ‘following my gist’ check in street parlance, “Shey you de visualize my plan, boss?”. Shadow replied trying to express skepticism for the too risky venture Akin had painted, “I no de visualize you plan o”. That line too bland for that atmosphere. The dialogue could have been taken a notch higher with a touch on comedy with, “No I no the visualize your plan, na your death I de visualize”.

Casting and Characterization

The casting director played a smart one with the array of stars culled from three showbiz sectors of movie, music, and comedy. Africans are always waiting to see how their favourite BBNaija housemates progress in life. Bringing five hot ones from three years editions is a genius one to command viewership from their broad audience.

Tobi Bakre showed with this project that he has honed his acting skills. The characterization of the protagonist character was not only excellent but very commendable. Roleplaying an action figure takes a little work. He must have had months of preparation, physical fitness training, gun handling, etc., Tobi was at his very best and can be credited for the great output of the movie in terms of characterization. The highlight was when he fell from the top of the bridge into the lagoon. Judging by the technical details that was really an about hundred kilos man plunging down over 200m.


Falz, though delivered on most fronts, was not quite a good fit for the lover boy role. Perhaps the stereotype of him be unserious just ‘colloquialized’ his serious, romantic heart-to-heart conversionations. His kiss with Kamsi (played by Dorathy BBNaija) was so real. Then, he goes to ask for her hand in marriage with a piece of thread spurned around her hand. The magic of that scene would have happened only if Falz wasn’t coming across as unserious.

Bringing back the Isakaba legend, Sam Dede as the head of SWAT is yet another brilliant call of the casting director. Of course, Sam delivered a five-star characterization.

The only obvious fail with the casting is Mr Macroni. He struggled all through to portray the personality of a hardened criminal. His facial expressions were alien to the expected emotions in most scenes. It was too obvious that he was trying too hard to look hard.

OC Ukeje, Ronke Oshodi Oke, Zubby Micheal, Omawunmi also did quite well.



Loukman Ali once again delivered on this one. The 2021 winner of the Best Short Film at the Uganda Film Festival and nominee for 2021 Best Short Film, at Durban International Film Festival brought out his best in the Directing and Cinematography of this film. Loukman’s input will be the best creative piece in this film. The shots are a beautiful work of art. The use of natural light, professional lights, angles, ambience, and props are excellent transitions are only the sort of things you can expect from a talented director of photography. Some intriguing scenes are the point where Akin is photographed from the ceiling with all the muscle and distortions of a ghetto set, and the next thing is a braless girl holding up a gun to his head. Then the scene where Akin shows up at the loot pick-up point after he fell into the lagoon, all to the shock of Cobra, the traitor. This scene was a perfect reenact of a typical John Wick scene. Scare light in a deserted remote cottage, double barrel gun in a wounded arm, one shot is fired, and Cobra is pummeled out through the door, body squatted on a green lawn in a brisk moonlight night, the camera zooms up to reveal the entire set of deliberate collections of nature and mother scene, a wow sight is delivered!

The costumes were also on point. The scar on Shadow’s face, the smudging of the gang members’ faces and all the nice selection of crazy appearances.

The sound design/music is not bad, could have been better though. For a Nollywood attempt at action, it’s really a job well done. The smashing of tables, kicks, door bursting, gunshots, and night time wizzling, were in sync with the expected emotions the script hoped to play. The best use of sound is the Akin vs Cobra last showdown. Just before the killer shot, Akin goes, “Koni da fun awon to ni e (E no go better for the people wey get you)”, a brief silence, a deafening sound of big gunshot and a perfect action scene sound, that leads the camera out to the ground outside, where Cobra’s corpse laid, and then the pitter-pattering sound of rain, altogether gave this work a perfect ending.

Verdict (4.5 stars)
Story/Script: 4/5
Music/Sound: 4/5
Directing: 4/5
Cinematography: 5/5
Overall production quality: 4/5



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Adire Review: There are loose ends…



Tunde is a psychopath, who is unconsciously infatuated with the town preacher’s wife…

Sade is the holier-than-thou mummy GO’s style. Yet the most intelligent of them all…

Did you know that a storey building was burnt down for the sake of a movie about a prostitute?

If you think I’m lying? Then watch the movie here.


Continue Reading


A Tribe Called Judah: And so what?!



By Victor Ojelabi

“A Tribe Called Judah” is not your typical movie about the teachings of the Christian faith; it’s a wild ride that challenges conventional norms.

Also read: Funke Akindele’s movie “A Tribe Called Judah” breaks Nollywood records

While the storyline might seem contradictory to religious principles, the film’s engaging narrative and stellar production make it a must-watch.

Produced by the talented Funke Akindele, the movie revolves around five brothers faced with the daunting task of raising funds for their ailing mother’s kidney dialysis. Their solution? A daring plan to rob one of their sibling’s wealthy boss.


Akindele’s dedication to this project is evident, with the film boasting twists, turns, and a level of professionalism that cements her position in Africa’s thriving film industry.

The five brothers, born into a family unapologetic about their unconventional origins, embark on a heist to steal over $2 million from an upscale furniture company.

The plot thickens as their well-planned operation takes an unexpected turn when another group attempts to pull off the same daring theft.

The movie not only delivers an engaging heist story but also tackles pertinent social issues. It defends women’s rights, condemns domestic abuse, empowers single mothers, advocates against alcohol abuse, and ensures that justice is served.

While “A Tribe Called Judah” may not be an adrenaline-pumping action movie, its well-delivered messages, impactful dialogues, and excellent cast choices make it a standout production. She still found a place to tuck in the forgiven Toyo, even if it’s just a waka pass. Forgive na forgive.


The film serves as a testament to Akindele’s storytelling prowess and her ability to weave together diverse themes seamlessly.

One of the movie’s strengths lies in its relatability, offering several takeaways for the audience. Whether it’s defending marginalized groups or promoting social consciousness, the film strikes a balance between entertainment and meaningful commentary.

However, one may still need to investigate the type of pistols used in the movie as they only seem to run out bullets as the director needed and how a direct shot through the right side of the back goes straight through the heart to kill someone.

Akindele’s latest work, having grossed over N1 billion at the box office, marks a historic achievement in African cinema.

“A Tribe Called Judah” is more than just a heist movie; it’s a captivating exploration of family dynamics and societal challenges, making it a worthy addition to your must-watch list.


Continue Reading


Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Black Book’ on Netflix, A Revenge Thriller from the Streets of Nigeria



You know Hollywood, you’ve at least heard of Bollywood, but do you know … Nollywood? That’s Nigeria’s film industry, which is booming enough to give its cinema a catchy name with some cultural caché. Netflix is even getting in on the action with The Black Book, now streaming on their platform.


The Gist: Corruption is running rampant in contemporary Nigeria within the world of The Black Book, so much so that the police can just openly kill a young man on a beach and expect no consequences for it. But they don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into this time because bereaved father Paul Edima (Richard Mofe-Damijo) is far more than just the pacifistic deacon that he appears. Paul has a checkered past in the country’s military that he’s tried to bury even in his own mind, but the soldier in him re-emerges to take justice into his own hands. Enmeshing himself once more in the web of violence and corruption is not something he takes on alone, however. His journey nack into the underworld that he once inhabited requires engaging with some old allies as well as a surprising new one: a crusading journalist intent on using the press to expose the country’s bad actors.

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: The Nigerian hybrid of Taken and Spotlight you didn’t know you needed.

Performance Worth Watching: The leads fighting for justice in their own way are good, but it’s Shaffy Bello as Big Daddy who proves the real MVP of The Black Book. She (yes, you read that pronoun right) is a force of nature in her capacity as a high-powered enforcer.

Photo Netflix

Memorable Dialogue: “The past must die to truly serve the future.” A line so nice they say it twice, once at the beginning without context and again at the end when it means something very different.

Sex and Skin: The Black Book stays focused on the action in the streets, not between the sheets.

Our Take: There’s plenty to admire in co-writer/director Editi Effiong’s dramatic thriller, but there’s little that really inspires a viewer to really lean forward in their seats. It’s always pitched between two very different ways a movie can be without fully committing to either. For example, it’s partially a character study of Paul’s final reckoning with the past, but it’s also somewhat allegorical for the Nigerian nation on the whole. Technically sound filmmaking can only go so far within a work that doesn’t really have a strong sense of what it wants to be. It can’t help but be a bit deflating to watch the big final scenes and know that they could have been a real wallop with a full film’s worth of momentum behind them.

Our Call: SKIP IT. The Black Book is not nearly bloody nor brooding enough. There are interesting components in this Nigerian thriller, but without a stronger sense of cohesion between plot and style, it feels instantly forgettable.

Marshall Shaffer is a New York-based freelance film journalist. In addition to Decider, his work has also appeared on Slashfilm, Slant, The Playlist and many other outlets. Some day soon, everyone will realize how right he is about Spring Breakers.



Continue Reading