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Nigerian Governor Pledges Improved Security -- and Investment --  In The Niger Delta

The governor of Nigeria’s Delta State says peace is returning to the oil-rich area. About three weeks ago, the government granted an amnesty to militant groups who say they're fighting for a greater share of the region's oil revenues for state and local communities. As a result of the amnesty, violence has diminished. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, during a trip to the United States, says he's guaranteeing improved security in the area. In fact, he says, the region is open for business.

“My message," he says "is that Delta State is safe enough for any investor to come in and the investment will further strengthen the peace process that we have already built,” he says. “We have done a lot to ensure there is peace and security, especially for investors, and if they come, they are assured of security of their investments and a lot of profit.”

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is in Washington and New York City this week for meetings with government officials, businessmen and members of the Nigerian diaspora.

“As a state in the Niger Delta region and one of the nine in the area, Niger Delta has become an international issue and it requires everybody, both those at home, those that are here and of course the international community to achieve peace and development that we require,” he says.

For years, the region has been wracked by violent protests over environmental damage caused by oil drilling and complaints that the local area did not get a fair share of the oil revenue.

With most militant groups embracing the amnesty offer and disarming their members, Governor Uduaghan says security in the area has improved tremendously and the threat of either kidnapping of foreigners or the blowing up of oil facilities has been eliminated.

Skeptics should seek information from the area, he says, because all parties to the effort to bring permanent peace to the region will keep their end of the agreement.

“We have done a lot to make sure [the amnesty] succeeds. We are very optimistic [it] will succeed and if it [does], it is going to advance the peace process tremendously. It will be a very big avenue for the success of our peace process.”