By Chimezie Godfrey
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has said that more foreign companies need to invest in the Niger Delta region in order to create development and maintain peace in the oil rich region.
He said this as he received the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard during her visit to the Ministry of Niger Delta in Abuja on Tuesday.
Akpabio who expressed his sympathy to the US government over the ravaging Covid-19 Pandemic, thanked the US Government for all the assistance it has been rendering to the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large.
He said, “We want more companies to invest in the Niger delta Delta, in the area of housing, flood control and in the area of job creation and high is what our people need most and of course the power sector.
“Let me express our deep sympathies through you to the president of the United States of America and the good people of the United States of America over the ravaging squash of COVID-19.
“It affected a lot of Nigerians who are resident in America and also, I don’t want to be political but we are happy that we are easing a lot of restrictions; the United States is opening up again to being a global brother that it had always been to the rest of the world.
“We are happy that you are returning to the table on the climate change issue and I believe that this will lead to a better world because an isolated United States of America simply means a world without direction, so we thank you. We all look up to you. The global community looks up to the United States for leadership.”
Akpabio noted that the Niger Delta region is one of the most peaceful. This ministry is mandated by Mr president to work very hard to ensure that the peace remains and the IOCs and the other companies working in the region have a very peaceful atmosphere to operate because it will be mutually beneficial to not just the companies that are coming in, but to the host communities.
The Us Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, noted that the pandemic had hampered plans from being executed, especially since 2020, but expressed willingness of the US government to collaborate and assist the Niger Delta region in possible ways
She said she was looking forward to the Petroleum Industry Bill being implemented to create a basis for entrance for companies operating in the region.
She said, “I know that there had been a road map that was proposed for 2020 but many of us have had the experience of our plans for 2020 not going exactly how we thought they might given the global pandemic and so we have to work on how the timetable and activities will be revised to ensure the important goals of development, infrastructure and security for this very important area.
“Also I think that we are all looking forward to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) becoming a reality so that there can be a predictable basis for entrance, for companies operating in that sphere and set of expectations for the populations of the Niger Delta in that regard.”