The black book, an in-depth summary of the movie

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The Black Book is a film by Editi Effiong, in loving memory of Pat Nebo. The events of the film are unpredictable and as such, audience are glued to the screen till the end.

The movie directed by Editi Effiong kicks with typical Lagos traffic behaviour; onlookers, passers-by, hawkers, beggars, and other street businesses. Suddenly a van drives to a halt as armed men jump out firing into the air, thereby, causing a pandemonium.

They have come for Mr Craig, who in his bulletproof car, is calm amid the gunshots until Angel’s boys bathed the car with fuel. When Mr. Craig sees Angel (Sam Dede) holding a lighter to his glare, he steps out of the car in surrender. The intervention of the police would have been commended if it had been timely enough to rescue Craig and his baby. However, some policemen were shot by an officer who is part of the criminals.

The criminals drive off leaving behind an injured member. That injured criminal is arrested and freed the next day. The next thing audience knows is an announcement that the suspect has escaped police custody and is described generally as a tall, dark male with dreadlock hair; the typical description of an average Nigerian youth.

The next scene shows Edima (Richard Mofe Damijo) and his son, Damilola (Olumide Oworu), having a good time at the beach. His son is happy to beat his father in the underwater breath-holding game. At home, the father prepares a meal and invites his son to church as he will be preaching that evening but his son declines the invitation. The following scenes show that Edima is a good and happy man who is friendly to all.

Victoria (Ade Laoye), who is a young enthusiastic female journalist walks into the office of her editor excited but is saddened by the sudden announcement that her story will no longer make it to the front page. Her excuse is until evidence suffices, the report remains an assumption.

Meanwhile, Mrs Craig (Bimbo Akintola), who is the National Energy and Oil Regulator and an anticorruption crusader, receives a call from her family’s abductor, Angel. She is asked to choose who dies between her husband and her baby. Having begged for the baby to live, Angel makes the choice anyway. He kills both their baby and her husband. The next scene shows the reaction of angry civilians to the resignation of Mrs Craig.

In the evening, Edima is preaching in church. Meanwhile, his son has decided to make him happy by attending the service.

While the inspirational sermon on God’s love and forgiveness is going on, his son is being waylaid by the evil SAKS men and murdered in cold blood in replacement of the original suspect who was freed but announced as an escapee.

Right there on the altar preaching, the news of his son’s death is brought to him. Arriving at the scene, Edima weeps over his son’s dead body, only to be shoved off by policemen who have come to carry his son’s body to their custody.

It begins to air that Damilola Edima was the mastermind of Craig’s family abduction and that he died in a gunfight with policemen. To aggravate Edima’s pain, his son’s body will not be released to him as an investigation is allegedly ongoing since he’s tagged a criminal.

Victoria meets Edima to offer help which he is reluctant to accept. After a meeting with an old friend who offers help, he says he has walked away from that kind of life. Next, Edima stands in front of his church, stares for a while and walks away; a gesture to show that he is taking a break from his old life to finish a peculiar business.

He goes to the Police with a fighting spirit to recover his son’s body but gets himself arrested because he attacked two policemen. He is severely beaten in the cell for having fathered a criminal and flung into the water at night.

In the morning, Victoria visits Edima’s house with his son’s file but it is different from the news report just as she suspects. Mrs Craig has refused to speak to her or anyone else. The whole case is difficult for her to put together. Quoting a Bible verse that says, “Vengeance is mine” Edima advises her to leave the case to spare her life and “leave it for God”.

Victoria is angry that many lives have gone without justice because of the problem of “leave it for God”. In the following scenes, Edima seems to have collected vengeance from God and placed it in his hands as he calls Aliyu. Every child on the street is shown the picture of Damilola’s murderer.

This kiddie’s team of Paw Patrol find him. He is tailed to a pub by Edima who does a recording of him and his boys confessing to their crimes, after which he tires them to a pole on the expressway. Victoria visits again and steals and steals the drive. She takes it to her editor for good evidence for Craig’s story but to her dismay, it is damaged by her boss on the excuse to protect her from dying like her mother.

Upon her exit, her editor calls the police and tells them that she has again favoured them by confiscating implicating evidence and must be compensated.

Damilola’s murderer and another policeman visit Dipo and Angel. It is here the audience gets a grip on the kind of life Edima walked away from years ago, a dangerous and fearsome expert soldier. Angel suggests that the best way to terminate Edima is to make him a national problem. To achieve this, Angel kills Damilola’s murderer to make Edima look like an avenger.

The commissioner (Ireti Doyle) takes the cue and declares Edima wanted. Edima goes to Victoria’s office to demand his flash drive, instead, she says she can help him find the people who killed his son.

They visit Madam Craig, who for the agony of her baby and husband’s death, speaks up and hands over the file she was working on about some oil blocs. At night, as both dig into the files, they unravel that one name out of the four most valuable oil fields is confidential. Edema then begs Victoria to abandon the case.

Outside, Angel and his team are invading Edima’s. Edima quickly shoves Victoria to a safe room while he takes them down one by one. In her safety, Victoria sees pictures of herself and her name on a cutout page of a newspaper on the wall.

When Angel comes face to face with Edima, he discovers that Dipo is after his life for fear that Edima will kill his son in vengeance. It is here the audience knows that Edima and Angel were both mercenaries for the General before he quit.

Edima later meets with General Issa (Alex Usifo) who offers him one million Dollars to walk away. Edima again emphasizes that all he wants is his son’s body and a public confession of Dipo and Angel. The General tells him that his demands would have been easy if the commissioner was one of them. Edima insists. Dipo’s punishment for killing Edima’s son, an irreparable damage, is two slaps from General.

General is reluctant to interfere, since, according to him, Edima has stayed true to their agreement by keeping silent for the past twenty-four years, that notwithstanding, he dispatches a dangerous assassin to silence him anyway.

This hired assassin aggravates the Police’ anger against Edima by killing several people and implicating him with prints like, “They killed my son”. Edima’s friends advise him to reach Richard, an old friend and enemy of General who is popularly known as Big Daddy for help if he wants to defeat General. In his search, he is told by Richard’s lover that General killed him a long time ago and although he represented the name, she is the original Big Daddy.

She shares her displeasure with the way Edima handed over their only leverage, the black book and that’s why he is still alive.

She blames him for not destroying General when he had the chance and now he suddenly has the courage because his son was murdered. While they are having this discussion, her property is being infiltrated by General’s new mercenary. It is a narrow escape for Edima that day.

Edima sneaks on the commissioner to convince her that he is innocent and only wants his son’s body. He also requests that she protects Victoria as her life is in danger. At her office the next morning, she asks the officer in charge of Edima’s case for the type of rifle that was found on Edima’s son.

She knows immediately that he was murdered by the police when she gets no reply but unfortunately, the General’s assassin has taken the position of a sniper to shoot the officer right there in her office. Victoria visits her father again and waves a burnt book she retrieved at Edima’s but meets Edima sitting there.

It is here that Edima merges his story with her history. He was serving in the Army under General Issa who mischievously took over the drug trade from criminals. He was recruited to a private squad called fumigation and their mission was to kill journalists who were a threat.

He killed a certain journalist who had uncovered their biggest deal, but on his way out, stopped shocked at the sight of her little daughter. This daughter, he took to a Reverend Father she calls now Daddy.

Mad at this unravelling, coupled with disgust for the Rev, she stomps away in tears. Tension heightens as she is captured by Angel and his men on the church premises. Guns are fired, Rev dies but Edima luckily escapes.

He gets a call from General to be in Kaduna within twenty-four hours if he wants to see Victoria again. Just then, Big Daddy (Shaffy Bello) drives in, interested in taking General Issa’s powers away but wonders if Victoria is worth all the trouble.

Edima begins to share again why she means so much. When he didn’t kill Victoria that day, the General demanded his life to replace hers. He narrates that he did not give up the black book out of will but that he did so to spare both his life and Victoria’s. And now, he is determined to take back the black book for Victoria just as he laid it down for her in the first place.

Big Daddy and Edima travel to Kaduna and with the help of an insider in General’s camp, they have a blueprint of General’s property. Big Daddy provides her army of women in hijab uniforms. With Victoria at gunpoint, Edima appears armless before General amid gunshots in the air.

Edima and Victoria are kept handcuffed in a cell. While they are here, Big Daddy and her female army have successfully secured the General’s safe. Edima tells General that he is not in full control. This threat makes him send Angel to secure the safe.

There is a wild goose chase after Big Daddy and her team. The actions that follow are scenes that a viewer must watch by themselves.

When Angel finally catches up, they are in time to send an incriminating recording to Police HQ. All units are immediately withdrawn, leaving Angel alone like a cob in the middle of hyenas. At the cell, when General orders a soldier to kill Edima, he drops the gun and flees instead.

Victoria picks up the gun and points it at General but cannot muster enough courage to pull the trigger. General hisses and rolls away in his wheelchair. Having triumphed, Edima sits by General Issa who tells him confidently that he cannot be paraded in court.

Edima tells him that it is not the civilians who want him but the Nigerian Army whose men General’s boys murdered while protecting his illegal money. General is arrested.

In the end, Edima gifts Victoria her mother’s diary, the one he took the day she was murdered. The last scene shows Edima crying over his son’s grave, shovel in hand while Victoria looks on in compassion.