By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has called on diplomats representing the European Union in Nigeria to ensure that travel advisories released to their home countries were factual and accurate.
Â The governor who made the remarks against the backdrop of reports of insecurity in the oil-rich region, which he said were capable of scaring away investors, spoke during a meeting with Mr. Michel Arrion, the EU ambassador to Nigeria in Yenagoa. He thanked the envoy for going round to see some projects his government was embarking upon and decried the â€˜â€™negative narrativeâ€ about Bayelsa.
He added that every society had security challenges, but noted that there had been a shift because of his government’s effort in that area.Â
The governor appealed to the diplomat to work on travel advisories to attract more investors to the state since the wrong advisory could scare away investors.
He said, “Bayelsa State is peaceful and secure. We are doing our utmost best in the area of security. Just because there are some incidents does not mean the entire location is a no-go area. People create a false alarm and that impedes our capacity to address issues of the economy.Â
“If you scare investors from coming, we will not be able to create jobs that will employ these young people who are out there creating some of these concerns.
â€œSo the solution, Ambassador, is not to scare people away but to get them involved. So as you return to your base, please help us tell the Bayelsa story that the narrative out there is not correct and it is unfair.”Â
In his comments, Mr. Arrion and his team who are on a three-day visit toÂ the state, promised to back the Bayelsa State Government in its bid to create employment for youths in the state.
He Â said since the union came into Bayelsa State nine years ago, a lot of investment had been made on human capacity building.
The envoy expressed the EU’s desire to support Bayelsa in key sectors of the state’s economy, especially in the areas technical and vocational education.
Â “We have nine years of cooperation in Bayelsa and the state has benefited a lot from our development projects like health and water. Sometimes you don’t see us because we give money to UNICEF (United Nations Childrenâ€™s Fund) to implement the projects.Â
â€œWe also give a substantial amount of money to the World Bank and they are implementing SEEFOR (State Employment and Expenditure for Results) but we will like to do more in Bayelsa State.
“We have seen what you are doing in education and we want to come in and take a key component of it which is technical and vocational educationâ€, Arrion said.
He also extended an invitation to the governor to address a monthly meeting comprising the 21 European ambassadors in Nigeria and other diplomats so as to further discuss their future plans for the state.