From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
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 administration is desirous to tap the huge agriculture potential of the State.
The Governor who was addressing Nigerians in Diaspora at a dinner hosted in his honour by the Consul-General, Amb Lot Egopija and the 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 to 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, Diri informed the gathering that the ‘Government of Prosperity’ under him had made pragmatic steps to ensure 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 to 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 a hub of oil and gas. As you rightly know, 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 abundant 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 in a year. We cannot do it alone and that is why we have come here to speak to our brothers and sisters in 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.