Audio: French / Subtitles: English

Media team: Lautaro Bolaño, Neus Marmol & Javier Corso

ESSENCE DU BENIN is a documentary project that pushes out into the vast network of illegal trafficking of gasoline (essence, in French) from Nigeria to Benin, a country that has not enough stations to cover a population whose main mode of transportation is the motorcycle. Given this need emerges a succulent business opportunity. In a few decades the sale of gasoline has become the first –and under the table– economic activity and major traffickers are the leaders of everything. Politicians have surrendered to their feet and the police turn a blind eye in exchange for a few CFA, the Beninese currency. Women, disabled people, university students and even children depend on this activity, as it is one of the few alternatives of work to pull up their families. All of them are exposed to the danger of explosions caused by some small accident, which caused hundreds of deaths in recent years, and harmful gases given off gasoline, with dire health consequences. The tentacles of the illegal network embed in every corner of the Beninese society which all alone cannot cope with a problem that is extended beyond its borders. The only possible solution is that all actors involved play their part, but so far there is no solution in sight, at least in the short term.