President Goodluck Jonathan has assured the Bayelsa State Government of technical and financial support in the promotion of the tourism industry and establish an under Water Research and Imaging Centre in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation to create training opportunities for the people.
Represented by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, High Chief Edem Duke, President Jonathan also announced that the N3 billion earlier pledged to the movie industry would be made available to it in the next few weeks as well as announced a donation of N25 million to the proposed Yenagoa Film City.
The President, who speaking at the 9th edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA at the Gloryland cultural centre in Yenagoa, urged the movie industry to focus more on telling stories that portray Africa in its proper perspective and commended the industry for collaborating with other African countries to tell stories across borders.
Also speaking at the event, Governor Seriake Dickson announced institution of a Bayelsa State Indigenous Movie Trust Fund with an initial donation of N250 million for the development of budding talents, which would be managed by persons from within and outside the state.
He described the entertainment industry, especially Nollywood as a major employer of labour and a medium for cultural exchange and a tool for rebranding the country and continent.
Governor Dickson congratulated Nollywood for the feat achieved by one of its stars, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde for her induction as one of the 100 most influential personalities in the world by the Time Magazine, describing it as a stamp of global approval for the movie industry in the country.
As a way of acknowledging the contributions of the Nollywood stars, the Bayelsa state Governor also said government would make available plots of land to deserving stars who would be required to build befitting residential accommodation and take advantage of the facilities that would be provided at the proposed Yenagoa Film City.
According to the Governor, his administration has made huge investments in the area of security and today it is beginning to pay off as Bayelsa is now being rated as one of the most peaceful states in the country.
While observing that night life has also returned to the state, he hinted that by next month, a programme of electronic surveillance would be activated to strengthen existing security measures and peace in the state.
The Bayelsa state chief executive also used the occasion to woo the private sector to invest in the possibilities of the new Bayelsa State, adding that his administration will support them all the way.
Hon. Dickson pointed out that beyond the fun and glamour of AMAA, the event would be used as an avenue for promoting tourism, agriculture and manufacturing as well as prepare for a post oil era.
In his remarks, President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma said his country shares in the aspirations and struggles of Nigeria and the entire African continent to eradicate poverty and marginalization as well as create a better Africa and a more cohesive world.
Represented by the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Luis Mnguni, he commended Governor Dickson for promoting good governance and urged leaders in the African continent to emulate his example of regularly rendering accounts to the people.
In her speech, which was centred on the theme of this year’s AMAA “Africa One”, the Chief Executive of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA, Ms Peace Anyiam Osigwe, said it is incumbent on film makers to use the medium to change the mindset of Africa by Africa and for Africa as that was the whole essence of the Academy.