Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has urged the US Government to delist the state from the list of unsafe states in Nigeria.
Emmanuel made this known during a courtesy visit by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, at Government House in Uyo on Wednesday.
According to him, listing Akwa Ibom among the unsafe states in Nigeria was repelling to investors, hence inimical to the industrialisation drive of the state government.
He noted that such categorisation was at variance with the decisions of several security agencies that place Akwa Ibom as one of the safest states in the country.
He said: “Help me review; right now we are expecting many investors in the state.
“Reports labelling Akwa Ibom as being unsafe for Americans to travel into is going to affect a lot of investments in the country, especially in Akwa Ibom, because it stands contrary to the Police and other security agencies’ reports.
“There is no society on planet earth where there are no pockets of crime.
“Pockets of crime cannot render our state insecure.”
Emmanuel expressed delight over the partnership between America and Nigeria in the provision of critical facilities in the state.
He appealed to the American Government to partner with Akwa Ibom for transparency and effective projects monitoring.
He said: “The USAID can come in, we don’t need the money, and they can partner with the state government on this programme through the Ministry of Health.”
Emmanuel said if the projects must go to the implementing partners, the state government should be the third party for proper monitoring and transparency in its financial reporting.
He emphasised that partnership with the state government would ensure that the programmes being executed by the US Government are beneficial to the people as funds allocated would trickle down to the appropriate locations without encumbrances.
Earlier, Leonard said she was pleased to have the opportunity to visit the state to ascertain the status of US funded projects after constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The envoy described the Akwa Ibom State Government as a model in the pandemic management and fundamental support for the USAID projects in the state.
She also expressed delight over the investments made by the state government in the health sector.
The ambassador said those were evident in the improved health infrastructure, trained health workers, the wellbeing of USAID projects in the state, reversal of hitherto held statistics in malaria and HIV/AIDS amidst the COVID pandemic.