Sylva turns militants’ camps to tourist centres


In a renewed bid to reduce the social impact of militant activities as well as promote tourism potentialities, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, has announced plans to convert camps currently used by militants to terrorise others to tourist centres while promising that electricity would be available round the clock in the shortest possible time in the state.

Sylva, who spoke in Abuja at a news briefing to announce the hosting of this year’s edition of the African Movies Awards, (AMA), noted that as concerted efforts were being made to eradicate all forms of violence from the state, tourists would in the near future be delighted to see how the camps now being used by the militants looked like while the mayhem lasted.

Already, he said, the state capital, Yenagoa, is enjoying uninterrupted power supply for 18 hours everyday, which would be stepped up to 24 hours when ongoing power projects are completed.

The governor stated that for the first time, citizens of the State celebrated Christmas with electricity last December, adding that he intends to make Bayelsa the capital of tourism in Nigeria and to make the AMA awards to rival the Oscars. Describing Bayelsa as a home of peace endowed with diverse natural resources that would be conducive for good film production. He said the state was currently building three hotels, one of which would be an 18-storey building expected to become the highest edifice in the Niger Delta region.

Other projects in the pipeline are the construction of a three-kilometre marina, and the organisation of cruises from Yenagoa to Brass.

Beside the violence by the militants, he said, Bayelsa as one of the most peaceful and crime-free states in the country would be such that “if one left his car in the streets without any security, he won’t have ant fear of its being stolen.”We’re hoping the next step is to make Bayelsa the destination for film shooting,” Sylva said.

“We have the sceneries, the longest coastline, water and different great cultures. Movies showcase mostly one part of the country. We want to broaden that.”

He said the benefits that would raccrue to the state for supporting the fiesta were the visibility that it has brought to it and a change of its negative image to a positive one that it craves.

In addition, he said, it would enable the people of the state to get involved in movies and in the process, it will become a source of employment. Chief executive of the AMA awards, Ms. Peace Fiberisima, disclosed that since the hosting of the event, Bayelsa has been host to the shooting of 27 films in 2007, up from the single one that had been shot there before then.