From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The United States Consul General to Nigeria, Mr Will Stevens, has said his country’s government was impressed with the growth rate of the Rivers economy.
Mr Stevens gave the indication when he spoke to journalists after Governor Nyesom Wike had conducted him around some critical projects that are being prepared for inauguration in Rivers State.
He noted that the Rivers economy was the second largest in Nigeria and with a robust partnership between Rivers and the US government, they both stand a chance of benefitting tremendously.
The projects inspected included the Dr Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, completed within 12 calendar months and ready for inauguration in November 2022.
Also inspected was the Dr Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre also billed for inauguration in November 2022.
Mr Stevens expressed that “Rivers State is a great, great place. I’m impressed with the economy. This is the second largest economy by State in the country and I think it’s an incredible untapped potential for trade and investment between our two nations, and I’m looking forward to working on that.”
The Consul General said he had a wonderful opportunity to visit and inspect the Dr Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in the Rumuokwuta community.
He said the brand-new specialist hospital is a world-class facility with world-class equipment.
“It is heartening to see so many US companies well represented here. It is really a testimony of the impact that U.S technology is having in Nigeria and around the world as we work together to save lives.
“There is one other thing I wanted to see today which was what it (Dr Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre) looks like so that I can go back to American companies and talk about what the operating environment will be like and maybe attract U.S investment and partnership in helping to run this hospital.
“So, we will see what we can do, and come back to talk to U.S firms that are already operating in healthcare space and see if we can support that.”
The US Consul General pointed to the great work that has already been done in the State as reflected in what he had seen so far.
“I talked yesterday, with the governor about the fight against HIV/AIDS. The State went from 17 per cent of the population that are positive for HIV on treatment to 97 per cent.
“We have saved over one hundred thousand people out of treatment because of our work together with the U.S government through CDCs, PEP Fund programme and this is just one more expression that I’m very grateful to be here,” he stated.