Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has criticized the inclusion of the state in the United States of America’s State Department’s keep-off zones for its citizens.
Uduaghan who stated this on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at Asaba, when the United States Consul-General, Mr. Jeff Hawkins paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, said that his administration has done a lot to improve security and curb security challenges.
According to him, “the state is peaceful and does not have serious security issues as being portrayed. Moreover the state government has done a lot to tackle security issues and ensure peace and security in all parts of the state”.
The governor stated that criminal activities in the state have drastically reduced because of the different strategies put on ground to promote security in the state saying: “We are really pro-active in fighting kidnapping, pipeline vandalization and other criminal activities in the state.”
He assured the team that his administration was ready to work with them to ensure that the security challenges faced in the state become a thing of the past and crate a conducive environment for investment.
Uduaghan acknowledged that he was aware that the outside world have a negative perception of the state but promised that his administration was working tirelessly to change such perception.
While soliciting the cooperation of foreign companies operating in the state, Governor Uduaghan assured them of the safety of their staff and the protection of their properties and advised them to synergise with the state government in the area of security and provision of employment and business opportunities in their host communities.
He disclosed that the utmost goal of his government was to create a state that was not dependent solely on oil revenue but one with a diversified economy with oil being just one source of its revenue.
“We want to use our oil revenue to develop other sectors of our economy and attract investments to these sectors” adding that “the ultimate goal of the Delta Beyond Oil Vision is to create employment for our teeming youths and reduce crime rate to its barest minimum in the state”.
Uduaghan said that the state government set up the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission to handle infrastructural development in the oil producing communities as part of the strategies to deal with community agitations and youth restiveness in the state
“The Commission’s activities were meant to address urgently the provision of infrastructure in the grossly neglected oil producing communities and take care of the agitations for human capital and infrastructural challenges of the people in these communities”.
In a brief response, the Consul General of the United States to Nigeria, Mr. Jeff Hawkins explained that the team was in Delta State to synergise with the state government on areas of cooperation and security.
While commending Uduaghan for his developmental strides in the state, he described the state as very important to the interest of the United States of America especially as the hub of economic activities in Nigeria and promised to partner with the state government in areas of common interest.