I commend the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and the NCMDB Boss, Engr. Simbi Wabote for this magnificent edifice. It truly makes me glad to see such a beautiful representation of the sector in the state.

I have always made the case that if oil and gas conferences must hold, then it must hold in the Niger Delta, and why not in Bayelsa where it all began.

On our part, we’ve been working together with community leaders, security agencies and the IOCs to build consensus and as such there is relative peace in the region which has improved operations drastically. In Bayelsa we have worked hard in the past seven years to promote peace in the region and it will be sustained as we intend to continue to work to promote a conducive production environment for businesses.

However, we need to collaborate more on the issues of environment. Not in an adversarial manner but in a collaborative and mutually beneficial manner that will favour the communities, whose ancestral heritage remain the platform for the oil and gas operations, the government and the IOCs themselves.

We have made investments in Bayelsa State that will ensure a safe, favourable and profitable environment both for doing business and permanent residency in Bayelsa.

To mention but a few, the Bayelsa International airport will be ready for operations within a few months from now to allow for the completion of the perimeter fencing. As you are already aware, the first plane landed in a few months ago and we expect that commercial flights will commence in no distant time.

Bayelsa also now hosts some of the best hospitals and the best public schools in the Federation. Our public schools now have over 15, 000 students from across the state who hitherto would have been in the creeks being armed with guns and waiting for the next victim to Kidnap. This is our modest effort in effecting a change in the paradigm of our youths and positively changing the narrative of the region.

The Bayelsa Education trust fund (BETF) and the Bayelsa health insurance Scheme (BHIS); the most functional health insurance scheme in the Federation today, are sustainable initiatives this present administration has formulated by law, and begs for the input of the IOCs as part of their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) to the state.

Bayelsa remains the best kept secrete of Nigeria.

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