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Diri seeks partnership with British envoy on UK’s investments in Bayelsa

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Douye Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has promised that his administration would provide and guarantee the enabling environment for United Kingdom (UK) investments in the state.

Diri gave the pledge yesterday when he visited the UK High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs. Catriona Laing in Abuja.

He requested the envoy to pave the way for British investments in the state in the areas of agriculture, transportation, education, maritime, aquaculture, ICT among others.

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In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Daniel Alabrah, the governor said the relationship between the UK and Bayelsa predated the creation of Nigeria, which was further consolidated by Shell’s discovery of crude oil at Otuabagi in February 1956.

He, however, noted that despite Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) being one of the leading oil companies and the long history of economic relations with the UK, Bayelsa had nothing to show for it, as there was no other investment from UK companies in the state.

Diri sought the UK government’s support and collaboration to establish a skills acquisition centre to train and empower women and youths in different vocations, including farming techniques for high-yield crops production, aquaculture, ICT, as well as mechanical and electrical training.

“With Bayelsa occupying a major portion of Nigeria’s 853-kilometre coastline, the government intends to concentrate on fishery development, particularly deep-sea fishing.

“The state has the best potential in Nigeria for the production of rice, cassava, yam, plantain, banana and palm produce. Our government is, therefore, embarking on a massive programme to train our youths in modern form of agriculture engage them in productive activities and discourage them from militancy, restiveness and criminality.

“Bayelsa remains a major crude oil and gas production state both onshore and offshore and so provides the best setting for oil and gas investments. About 60 per cent of Nigeria’s gas reserves reside in Bayelsa and the government has resolved to create the best incentives and operating environment for all British investors through Public Private Partnership (PPP),” he stated.

Diri also solicited support for undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships to Bayelsa students, inter-city collaboration with London, Liverpool or Manchester to enhance the state’s transportation infrastructure, urban planning and waste management.

He commended the envoy for the warm reception and presented a copy of the interim report of the Bayelsa State Oil and Environment Commission (BSOEC) and an overview of its work, which he said, highlighted the challenges Bayelsa people had faced from decades of environmental degradation.

Responding, Laing, thanked Diri for the visit, saying the Mission encouraged collaboration with states and organisations that border on mutual interests, adding that the UK was interested in Bayelsa’s economic development, especially in sustainable agriculture and other areas the governor highlighted.

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