The Oratory’, which premiered in 2021, is a globally acclaimed movie that was filmed at various locations in Rome, Atlanta and Lagos. It features Nigerian and international movie stars such as Eyinna Nwigwe, Rich Lowe, Celeste Marcone, Shane Guilbeau, Florence Okechukwu, Lawrence Nwali, among others, and directed by Obi Emelonye. The Executive Producer of the Movie, Dr Cyril Odia, is a Nigerian priest of the Order of St Don Bosco presently serving in Dublin, Ireland. He previously worked with the support of the United Nations Mission in Sudan(UNMIS) in providing food and education with the Salesian mission in Tonj and Juba.
Produced by a Catholic missionary organisation known as Salesians of Don Bosco, ‘The Oratory’, a movie which has raised awareness amongst key stakeholders on the issue of internally displaced children throughout Nigeria. The movie has premiered around the world in places such as Venice, Dublin, London, Turin and Nigeria
Chairman of the organizing committee of ‘The Oratory’ movie Organizing Committee, Mr. Gbenga Adebija(KSM) at a well-attended press conference in Lagos, said “The Oratory is not just a movie, it is actually an integral aspect of a broader multi-dimensional initiative which Rev Fr.(Dr) Odia and his fellow Salesians are passionately committed to bringing to fruition. The Oratory is not the destination, it is a milestone on the journey. The end game is to create an inclusionary framework for the upliftment of homeless, delinquent and juvenile youths who are at risk of negative societal situations such as violence, sexual abuse, trafficking and crime”.
According to Adebija, “On a personal level, The Oratory reminds us individually of our civic responsibilities towards internally displaced children and the imperative to support current and future initiatives to ameliorate this situation as best as we can”, he added.
The Coordinator, Don Bosco Child Protection Centre, Fr. Linus Nkemjinaka, popularly known as the Street Priest declared that the fact that every child needs a better home, is reason the Centre supports needy children to discover and nurture their potential, and thereafter, be reintegrated back to the society.
“Our society shouldn’t kill the talent of the children, and that is why we search for them and make them realize how important their existence is to society. Our society can never do without the children” said Fr Nkemjinaka.
Nollywood movie superstar, Eyinna Nwigwe, the lead actor (Shuga), called for more collaborations and support to ensure the movie achieves its objective. Nwigwe enjoined the media both within and outside the country to help create more awareness to promote the movie so that the Salesians of Don Bosco can sustain the campaign to take children off the streets.
Director of the project and development office, Rev. Fr Maximus Okoro revealed that over 15 children in need have been re-integrated since January 2022, adding that the team is ready to collaborate with states for the purpose of reintegrating more children in need back to the society.
The Executive Producer of The Oratory, Fr Cyril Odia, while disclosing the progress recorded by the Centre since the release of the movie, noted that people are committed to supporting the movement because they believe that something very urgent needs to be done to curtail the constant increase in the number of children on the streets. “It’s a national embarrassment”, he stated adding that, “We are seriously studying the Nigerian youth situation, election is coming, there’s need to motivate the youth to have faith”.
He further pointed out that there was no use preaching to hungry and homeless children without corresponding efforts to ameliorate the situation.
The Special screening at the Genesis Deluxe Cinema, Lagos also served as fundraiser to enable the campaign to rescue children in need of shelter. The event was attended by people from all walks of life including street children.
Rev Fr (Dr) Odia noted that The Oratory has generated tremendous interest around the world and even featured on the official website of The Vatican. “ We have received requests from all over the world from individuals and organizations interested in the movie and hopefully from next year we will take The Oratory on a world tour”