By Simeon Nwakaudu One of the greatest benefits of the investments by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in the security of lives and property , is the increased inflow of local and foreign investments. Today, Rivers State is the epicentre of investments in the country. Investors confidence has grown over the last few years because the Wike Administration has secured all parts of the state and created the right environment for investors to thrive. The results are glaring. STOCKGAP GAS TERMINAL, PORT HARCOURT This is a historic investment in Rivers State. It redefined the entire transportation architecture of domestic liquified gas between Bonny and Port Harcourt. Prior to this investment, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) produced domestic liquified gas in Bonny, shipped it to Lagos, before trucking same to Port Harcourt. The construction of the Stockgap, gas terminal in Port Harcourt changed this funny scenario that lasted several years. The terminal was commissioned on 5th November, 2019. In a remark, the Managing Director of NLNG, Mr Tony Attah described the event as memorable as it will promote access to LPG to people of Rivers State and the Niger Delta. ( Track”Before LPG is produced in Bonny, shipped to Apapa and transported to Port Harcourt via trucks. That is why we say today is a memorable day.” He said that with the Transportation of LPG from Bonny to Port Harcourt, the state will benefit in the areas of foreign exchange and positive impact on the lives of the people. Attah noted that the NLNG remains committed to providing cleaner sources of LPG to the people, in order to improve their health. He said that the NLNG is proud to be associated with the Rivers State Government for the development of the State and the Niger Delta. Chairman of Stockgap Group, Obiamarije Stanley said that Rivers State is a viable destination for investment. He said that the facility will promote employment and the use of LPG by families. He thanked the Rivers State Government for creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Elated by this outstanding and life changing investment, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stated that the State Government will continue to invest in the the development of infrastructure to grow the state’s economy and create employment for the people. He said that the State Government will sustain the creation of enabling environment to attract more investments to the State. “We will continue to develop infrastructure in the state to grow the state’s economy and attract more investors to the State. “Rivers State is the best place for investors to come. There is always return on investment in the state.” Governor Wike commended the Chairman of Stockgap for investing in the state. He expressed happiness for the major investment that will positively improve the state. “I am happy with this investment. We will reconstruct the road leading to this facility as an encouragement to the investor. “This facility will create employment and develop the economy of the area. We need to support investors for the good of the society “, he said. He praised the Nigerian Engineers who constructed the facility. He said the time has come for Nigerian Engineers to be given the opportunity to showcase their skills for the development of the country. . On the dredging of the Bonny River Channel, Governor Wike berated the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for refusing to invest in Rivers State. “NPA is willing to collect levies and charges in Rivers State, but they refuse to dredge River Channels in the state and make the right investments. NEXT CASH AND CARRY, PORT HARCOURT This is the biggest Shopping mall in West Africa. It is located in Port Harcourt. It is a major investment by a Nigerian, which has created jobs and improved the economy of the state. As a leader with a passion for investments in the state, Governor Wike encouraged the investor with visits to his site during construction. He was on ground to commission the mall. Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Governor Wike called on communities across the state to cooperate with willing investors to create employment opportunities for the people. He commended the Oginigba community for supporting the construction of West Africa’s Largest Shopping Centre. “I urge host communities to support and cooperate with investors to create jobs for our youths. When you protect investments, you encourage them to expand. “For the management of Next Cash and Carry, I advise you to carry the host community along. Whatever you know they are entitled to, in terms of employment, ensure they get them”. He directed the Ministry of Works to compel the contractor handling the road to the mall, to commence work immediately. “As I leave here, I will summon the Works Ministry to immediately commence the process of ensuring that the contractor starts the construction of this road”, he said. He expressed happiness that the private investor that sited West Africa’s Largest Shopping Centre in Port Harcourt, chose the town ahead of other cities. “I am one of the happiest persons that this major facility is here. You have supported Rivers State by this singular action. “I want to say because you brought this major investment to Rivers State despite the negative propaganda, God will bless you”, Governor Wike said. The Chairman of Next Cash and Carry Super Mall, Mr Ndibe Obi thanked the Rivers State Governor for awarding the contract for the construction of the road leading to the mall. He said the governor has developed a business friendly environment that has encouraged investments. Obi said that the mall has offered direct employment to 300 persons, while 700 direct jobs will be created at the height of operations. After the official opening, the Rivers State Governor made purchases at the facility. Stakeholders commended the Rivers State Governor for creating the right environment for investors to come to Rivers State. TURKISH AIRLINES OPERATES FROM PORT HARCOURT One of the leading Airlines in the world, Turkish Airlines resolved to operate from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital because of improved business climate and enhanced return on investments. On 25th May, 2019, the maiden flight of Turkish Airlines landed at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa. On hand to receive that flight was Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and top government officials. It was a memorable day for the Government and people of Rivers State. Senior Vice President of Turkish Airlines, Mr Karem Sarp said that the Port Harcourt route is the 324 destination of the Airline in 124 countries. He informed that it is the 57th destination in Africa. He said that Turkish Airlines is committed to improving social and economic connections in different parts of the world. ( Track”We are recognised for our unique flight services. We will continue to grow and this is an important destination “, he said. ) He said that the Port Harcourt route will link India, United States, China and other important global destinations. Managing Director of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Group Captain Usman Sadiq said that the Port Harcourt International Airport deserves more flights. He said FAAN will continue to work towards more flights for the state. Nigerian Ambassador to Turkey, Mr Audu Paragalda said the new destination will improve relations between Turkey and Nigeria. The General Manager of Turkish Airlines Lagos/Port Harcourt, Mr Yunus Ozbek thanked the Rivers State Government and FAAN for creating the opportunity for Turkish Airlines to operate from Port Harcourt. He assured that the Airlines will live up to the expectations of the people. Responding at the event, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stated that the commencement of Turkish Airlines Flights to the Port Harcourt International Airport will lead to greater economic development for the state. “We are happy that Turkish Airlines is now operating from the Port Harcourt International Airport. This will positively impact the economy of the State. “Outside Lagos and Abuja, Port Harcourt International Airport should be the next destination for international flights and other business opportunities. The Rivers State Government is willing to partner with key stakeholders to ensure that more Airlines operate from the state”. He said Rivers State has great economic opportunities that will be beneficial to investors. He noted that the economy of the state can sustain itself . . The maiden flight of Turkish Airlines at the Port Harcourt International Airport was greeted by celebration . ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM PORT HARCOURT For international travellers from the South-South and South-East Geo-political zones of the country, another option came in the form of Ethiopian Airlines permanently operating to the rest of the world from the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa. (Highlight visuals of the tour of Ethiopian Airlines facilities) Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike personally led a high-powered delegation to the headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines in Addis-Ababa to finalise this investment. The agreement was sealed on 10th October, 2019. The two parties reached the agreement at the Headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines after a high-powered meeting attended by the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Dr Tewolde Gebremariam, the Chief Commercial Officer, Esayas Wolde Mariam, Vice President, Strategic Planning, Busera Awel, Managing Director, Sales International, Lemma Yadecha, Regional Director, Sales and Services , Western Africa, Mitiku Asrat and Manager, Group Alliance and Commercial Cooperation, Hewoel Lemma. Chief Commercial Officer, Esayas Wolde Mariam, in an address declared that Ethiopian Airlines has agreed to fly permanently from Port Harcourt International Airport subject to the approval of the Federal Authorities. “We are willing and capable to fly into Port Harcourt on a regular basis. For now, we have exhausted our Bilateral Air Agreement Approval and we need another approval to operate the Port Harcourt route. “We need your help to ensure that approval comes from the Federal Authorities. At first, there should be a temporary operating permit, pending the final approval “. The Chief Commercial Officer added that Ethiopian Airlines needs the initial support of the Rivers State Government for handling and aviation infrastructure in Port Harcourt to develop the new Market. He declared that Ethiopian Airlines will also embark on advertisements to promote Port Harcourt as a tourist and investment destination. Vice President, Strategic Planning, Busera Awel of Ethiopian Airlines made a presentation on the capacity and vision of the Airline for the continent. In his response, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike declared that the State Government is willing to provide an enabling environment for Ethiopian Airlines to operate in the state. He assured that he will meet with the Minister of Aviation to ensure that Port Harcourt International Airport is approved for Ethiopian Airlines as a destination. Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike declared that his administration is working on making Port Harcourt a regional air transport hub for greater economic development of the state. “As we therefore consolidate on our achievements, we want to also focus on making Port Harcourt city a regional air transport hub through the private public partnership approach while leveraging on the existing aviation infrastructure and related market and other advantages of the State. “I wish to assure you that we are ready to do everything within our powers and spheres of authority and influence to facilitate the realization of your interest and desire directly and sustainably fly from Port Harcourt to Addis Ababa and other parts of the world”. Governor Wike thanked Ethiopian Airlines for their interest in expanding and retaining their services in Port Harcourt city. He said that the Rivers State Government will offer its social partnership, goodwill and support. The Governor noted that Port Harcourt is strategically located to serve as a transit point for the entire South-South and parts of the South-East. “We have agreed in principle that there is need for Ethiopian Airlines to fly from Port Harcourt to other destinations. Port Harcourt is a destination of choice, as it easily accessible for the entire South-South and other states in the South-East”, Governor Wike said. Governor Wike was led on a Facility Tour at Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa. The Governor and his delegation were briefed on the capacity of Ethiopian Airlines to Service the Port Harcourt-Addis Ababa International Route. This route is a gateway to the Middle East and Fast East Asia. It is also a budget airline to Europe. . OBVIOUS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT From the very beginning, Governor Wike set out to make Rivers State a strong industrial and economic base of the country. After about five years , the ultimate goal is in sight. He has invested in infrastructure, security and has streamlined taxation to make Rivers State attractive to foreign and local investors . As a result of the genuine inputs of the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike, investors have continued to invest in the state. They troop to Rivers State in their numbers and the result is visible. Therefore, the economic growth of Rivers State is a given.