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7 Best Documentaries About Nigeria

These documentaries about Nigeria show a country rich in history, culture, and diversity, and offer a compelling glimpse into its multifaceted identity.

From the bustling streets of Lagos to the serene landscapes of the Niger Delta, these films explore the nation’s past, present, and future, shedding light on its challenges, triumphs, and the resilience of its people.

Documentaries About Nigeria

Whether delving into the vibrant Nollywood film industry, examining the impact of the oil sector on local communities, or chronicling the struggles for democracy, these documentaries about Nigeria capture the essence of the country, giving you a nuanced understanding of this dynamic West African nation.

Welcome to Lagos (2010)

Welcome to Lagos is a three-part documentary series produced by the BBC. It provides a detailed and intimate look at the lives of people living in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the largest and most vibrant cities in Africa.

Lagos, as portrayed in the documentary, is a city of stark contrasts. It captures the challenges and opportunities faced by individuals living in various parts of the city, from the bustling markets and crowded slums to the more affluent neighbourhoods.

The series explores themes such as urbanization, poverty, entrepreneurship, and the resilience of the people in the face of adversity. The documentary showcases the resourcefulness of its residents and their ability to navigate the complexities of daily life in a city that is both overwhelming and full of potential.

Sweet Crude (2009)

Sweet Crude focuses on the Niger Delta region in Nigeria, which is rich in oil resources. The documentary addresses the impact of oil exploration and extraction on the environment, local communities, and the people of the Niger Delta.

The title “Sweet Crude” refers to the high-quality crude oil found in the region, which has been a source of wealth and conflict. The film explores the complex issues surrounding oil production, including environmental degradation, human rights abuses, and the struggle for economic justice.

Through interviews with local activists, community leaders, and residents, “Sweet Crude” provides a platform for the voices of those affected by the oil industry in the Niger Delta. It sheds light on the challenges faced by communities dealing with pollution, displacement, and social unrest as a result of oil-related activities.

This is one of the best documentaries about Nigeria that looks into oil in the country.

Black Axe: Nigeria’s Mafia Cult – BBC Africa Eye (2021)

The Black Axe are one of the most feared and powerful organised crime groups in the world. The highly secretive mafia – referred to as a “cult” in Nigeria – have been accused of countless murders and are estimated to earn millions of dollars through internet fraud.

But who is behind them? Are politicians involved? This is one of the best documentaries about Nigeria that takes a look at crime in the country.

The Supreme Price (2014)

The Supreme Price focuses on Hafsat Abiola, a Nigerian human rights activist and daughter of Moshood Abiola, a prominent Nigerian politician who won the presidential election in 1993 but was later imprisoned. The documentary explores the political history of Nigeria, with a particular emphasis on the struggle for democracy and human rights.

The title, “The Supreme Price,” reflects the high personal and political costs paid by individuals like Hafsat Abiola and her family in their fight for democracy in Nigeria. The film examines the complex political landscape of Nigeria, including the military rule and the challenges faced by those advocating for democratic reforms.

Hafsat Abiola’s personal journey is interwoven with the broader narrative of Nigeria’s political history. The documentary follows her efforts to continue her parents’ legacy and fight for justice, democracy, and gender equality in a country grappling with political instability and social issues.

This Is Nollywood (2007)

This documentary provides a closer look at the Nigerian film industry, popularly known as Nollywood, which has gained international recognition for its prolific output of low-budget, direct-to-video films.

The documentary explores various aspects of the industry, including its rapid growth, grassroots production methods, and its significant cultural and economic impact. Nollywood is known for its ability to quickly produce and distribute films that resonate with local audiences, often featuring melodramatic storylines, moral messages, and a blend of traditional and modern themes.

“This Is Nollywood” sheds light on the resourcefulness and creativity of Nollywood filmmakers, who work with limited budgets and tight schedules to bring stories to the screen.

The documentary includes interviews with filmmakers, actors, and industry insiders, providing perspectives on the growth of Nollywood, its influence on African cinema, and its challenges in terms of piracy and infrastructure.

Inside Nigeria’s Kidnap Crisis – BBC Africa Eye (2019)

Nigeria is in the grip of a kidnapping epidemic. Thousands of Nigerians have fallen victim, and millions of dollars in ransoms have been paid. But the Intelligence Response Team, led by Abba Kyari – nicknamed “Nigeria’s Super Cop” – is taking the fight to the kidnappers.

Is the unit the solution to Nigeria’s kidnap crisis?

Deadliest Journeys – Nigeria (2018)

Hidden deep in the mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta lie hundreds of illegal refineries, “cooking spots”. It’s the stronghold of hostage-takers and armed groups that have been spreading terror in the region for over 10 years. Few cameras have been able to penetrate the closed worlds of these oil thieves.

On the one side, Nigeria, is an extremely unstable region with economic and political stakes on a global scale. Nigeria is the biggest oil producer in Africa and one of the ten biggest producers in the world. 95% of its revenues derive from this “black gold.”

On the other side, Western countries, are major consumers of fuel and for whom oil is indispensable. Between the two, the inhabitants of the Niger Delta, cast aside from this manna and the enormous profits generated by the “black gold”.


Documentaries about Nigeria serve as powerful windows into the heart of a nation marked by its rich tapestry of stories, struggles, and successes. Through the lens of filmmakers, you are transported to the vibrant streets, cultural enclaves, and untamed landscapes that define Nigeria.

For more documentaries have a look at the 10 best documentaries about South Africa.

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