U.S Consul-General, John Bray(M) in a handshake with Founder/President of Belemaoil, Jack-Rich Tein Jr with Rivers State Commissioner for Commerce, Dr Nancy Nwakwo (2nd left); Commercial Attache, U.S Mission to Nigeria, Jennifer Woods (left) and Mrs Elizabeth Jack-Rich Jr during visit of U.S Consul-General to Belemaoil, an Indigenous Oil Firm in Port Harcourt Tuesday. Photo: Nwankpa Chijioke
As Belemaoil appeals for US commerce office in P’Harcourt
We have restored peace and investment climate -Wike
By a Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT – THE United States, US, governmentTuesday expressed worry over Rivers state status as “one of the most terrible reputation” for electoral violence in Nigeria, charging that Governor Nyesom Wike must reverse the trend as priority condition for attracting US investments in the state.
US Consul General in Nigeria, John Bray, gave the condition while responding to the request by President/Founder of Belemaoil, Jack-Rich Tein Jr, for the US to establish a liaison office of the State’s Commerce Department in Port Harcourt, Rivers capital.
Tein had told Bray that Belemaoil, since acquiring OML 55 Assets from Chevron in 2012, had set new standards in corporate social responsibility in changing lives in the indigenous oil firm’s host communities through various job creation, development and empowerment initiatives even to extraneous beneficiaries in Northern Nigeria.
“Our success story will make investors view the Niger Delta as safe, but US presence with a liaison of the Commerce Department in Port Harcourt as West Africa’s oil hub would strengthen the business atmosphere and prove that indeed Niger Delta is safe for business” Tein appealed to Bray.
Condition for US investment in Rivers
Responding to the oil firm’s appeal, the Consul General noted that Belemaoil by its bold steps presents a model of positivity, encouraging for the US strong push for investments in Nigeria, Niger Delta in particular.
He said, “You are lighting a candle for others to follow, but there remains a strong challenge of how do we can get a sense of security to US and other stakeholders. How do we change the perception of violence in the Niger Delta.
“We are going into a very serious political period in Nigeria. One of the most terrible reputation for electoral violence is right hear in Port Harcourt.
“I was speaking with Wike, the governor, last night and I said, If you want investors to come, let’s have free, fair and transparent, non violent elections in Port Harcourt. Let the world see that.”
We have invested, gain much in restoring peace, security -Wike
How, Governor Wike insist the perception of insecurity in Rivers has become a thing of the past following his administration’s robust investment in infrastructure, citizens empowerment as well peace and security.
Addressing the U S delegation at the Institute of Petroleum Studies, University of Port Harcourt, the governor said the fact that the Consul General and his team made a seamless trip to the state without any incidence of insecurity was a firsthand indicator that his administration has made remarkable progress in restoring peace and investors’ confidence in the state.
Wike who spoke through the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, said, “You have been to this state since yesterday, and I am very sure that you have slept with your two eyes closed. That is to tell you the extent and passion with which Governor Nyesom Wike has invested in security of lives and property in the state”
The governor further said his administration remains committed to sustained infrastructural transformation of the state with corresponding commitment to various jobs and empowerment initiatives as well as conscious efforts at creating investment friendly atmosphere in the state.