* Country seeks business in construction, oil, gas, agriculture, fishery and even cosmetic, medicine, pharmaceutical products.
* Wike says $10 Billion NLNG Train 7 is proof Rivers is safe
By Ignatius Chukwu
Despite ritual killings and abductions in Rivers State and mass kidnap in the north, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae, says the purported insecurity in Rivers State and some other parts of the country is exaggerated by the media.
Young-Chae has meanwhile hinted that political stability of Nigeria remains a key determinant factor for Korean companies willing to invest in Nigeria.
The Korean ambassador stated this during a courtesy call to Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, at the Government House, Port Harcourt at the weekend.
Young-Chae explained that contrary to negative media reports, he felt safe visiting Rivers, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Ogun and others States in the country.
“I visited Bayelsa State. The other day, I visited Adamawa State and Ogun State and it seem to me the security situation is in a way exaggerated. In most places, I feel safe. But the media coverage is often exaggerated and making matters worse.
“The biggest concern for Korean companies is political stability. So, political stability is key for Korean companies to decide investment in Nigeria. We want to see continuous political stability in Nigeria and that is what I have seen here (Rivers).”
The ambassador, who was accompanied by his wife and officials of Korean embassy, commended Gov Wike able leadership over the years.
“We have seen enormous progress in Rivers state in terms of infrastructure. I salute your able leadership.”
Young-Chae said Korea is seeking more economic cooperation with Rivers State and the rest of the country in the areas of construction, oil, gas, agriculture, fishery and even cosmetic, medicine, pharmaceutical products.
He declared his readiness to help Nigerian companies penetrate into Korean and East Asian markets which combined Gross Domestic Product now surpass that of Europe and North America respectively.
He commended the Peoples Democratic Party chairman in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor for being a worthy ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Korea.
In his response, Governor Wike commended the Korean ambassador for his pragmatic and objective analysis of the security situation in Rivers State.
“Let me sincerely thank you for saying clearly that the issue of insecurity is being exaggerated. People pay the media to carry negative publicity against states. Nobody will deny the fact of the problem we are facing in the country today and also the world in general.”
The governor disclosed that prior to the take off of the $10 Billion NLNG Train 7 project, he held meetings with the Managing Director of Daewoo and Saipem and they were quite satisfied with the level of security in the state.
“Rivers State is one of the safest states in this country today. Get the security statistics from the Police, from the State Security Services, from the military, they will tell you so. When people say Rivers State is one of the most unsafe state, you then ask them where did you get your statistics from.”
He further continued: “You and I know if there is insecurity today, NLNG Train 7 cannot take place, because that is one of the biggest investments in this country today, $10 Billion investment. Nobody can make that kind of investment to a state where there is so much insecurity.”
Speaking on the issue of unemployment, the governor explained that if the national economy is not stable, it will invariably affect the sub-nationals.
“If the national economy is booming, then there is the tendency that the component units economy will also boom. So people who do not have idea of the economy will come up to say that there is so much unemployment in the state.”
Governor Wike expressed the willingness of Rivers State government to partner with the Republic of Korea in agriculture, technical education and medicine.
The governor observed that most countries are now depending less on oil as a major source of revenue. And for Rivers State to survive, he said the government is focusing on agriculture by establishing a cassava processing company.
He remarked that the State government is willing to provide all necessary documentation, land and give all the necessary waivers and incentives to Korean investors wishing to invest in agricultural sector in Rivers State.
“We will make sure that we give you the concession for those private investors, even tax rebate as it may be.”