Bayelsa Safe For Investments, Gov. Diri Assures Nigerian Diaspora In US
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has restated that the State is ready and safe to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in different areas of business.
Governor Diri, who is leading a team to the United States of America for both trade and cultural events in the leading commercial cities of New York and New Jersey, said Bayelsa State is rich beyond oil and gas resources and that his government is desirous to tap the huge agriculture potential of the State.
The Governor was addressing Nigerians in Diaspora at a dinner hosted in his honour by the Consul-General, Amb. Lot Egopija and Nigeria’s Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, Amb. (Prof.)Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, at the Nigerian Consulate, New York, said Bayelsa International Airport, which has since commenced commercial operations in Lagos and Abuja, remains very strategic to the investments drive.
In a statement issued by the Director, New Media to the Governor, Dr Kola Oredipe, the Governor informed the gathering that the ‘Government of Prosperity’ under him had made pragmatic steps to ensure the safety and security of lives and investments in the State, insisting that Bayelsa State remains one of the relatively secured states in Nigeria.
“We came here on a two-prong visit, to bring Bayelsa State to the US and the world, as a State that is ready and prepared to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and as a State that is culturally very strong, bringing our culture to the world. In the area of security, I assure you all that the State is safe. We have set up a special security outfit code named, Bayelsa State Community Safety Corps headed by a retired Brigadier-General. The corps is engaging over 5,000 community youths to join the statutory security personnel to keep everywhere secured”, he stated.
He continued, “Bayelsa State has been known as the hub of oil and gas. As you rightly know that commercial oil operations began in a community called Oloibiri in Bayelsa State as far back as 1956. The world is now moving away from crude oil to cleaner energy. We have an abundance of gas resources and in fact, we have more gas reserves than crude oil. So, investment opportunities abound in the State.”
“ As a government, we are equally diversifying into agriculture and mobilising our people to go into rice farming. It will interest you to know that because of the good soil and topography, Bayelsa can grow rice three times a year. We can not do it alone and that is why we have come here to speak to our brothers and sisters in the diaspora to come and join us to promote the investment potential in the State. We are opening up the State for FDI”, he said.
On the current challenges facing the country, Governor Diri called on all Nigerians to join hands to lift the nation out of the state of insecurity and political issues.
“As you are aware, our country is undergoing some challenges, more of security and political. Before now, in our generation, you can travel from Port Harcourt to Sokoto, to Kano, Kaduna without entertaining any fear. Today, the story is different. And it behoves all of us, that what we enjoyed growing up as a country, having friends all across Nigeria, we must not allow Nigeria to die. We must all work together to ensure Nigeria remains one and not only remaining one, but Nigeria will also grow from strength to strength”, he stated.
The Governor thanked the two Ambassadors for the great reception and hospitality accorded the delegation from Bayelsa State.
In their separate remarks, Ambassador Lot Egopija, Consul-General, Nigerian Consulate in the New York and Amb. (Prof.) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, commended Governor Diri for his forthrightness in driving and investments into his State and that the two cities of New York and New Jersey have truly become great commercial centres in the US.
They urged the governor to tap into the existing bilateral and business relationship between the US and Nigeria and leverage on Nigerian diaspora to attract investment opportunities to Bayelsa State.