The Special Adviser on Youth, Commerce and Culture to the Cabinet Office of the British Prime Minister, Mr. Ketan Makwana, has urged foreign nationals to disregard insinuations that Nigeria is not safe for investment, visitation, or residency.
In an interview with SATURDAY PUNCH on the sidelines of an entrepreneurship development summit organised by the Kwara State University in Ilorin on Friday, Makwana advised non-Nigerians not to be afraid to visit the country, adding that Nigerians are warm and hospitable people.
He said that he had overcome personal fear of the security situation in the country, having lived here for a while and completed his programme without any threat to his life.
Makwana said the pleasant experience he had in Nigeria was beyond his expectation.
He said, “I am one of those who believe that you cannot comment on something except you have experienced it yourself. So I will advise foreigners to disregard the erroneous impression that Nigeria is not safe. Ignore what you hear, come and experience it yourself. Then you can make a decision.
“Nigeria has almost become a second home to me. In fact, we had some security concerns regarding to our stay initially. But I felt that everywhere one goes, one would always encounter security issues. Even at home, we have security issues. Why should that stop anyone from doing what they want to do? Frankly, the experience has been beyond my expectation.
“The welcome has been warm, the people have been inviting, and the food is amazing. You know a way to a man’s heart is through the stomach. So if you keep feeding me, I will keep coming.”
Makwana urged potential investors interested in Nigeria to consider investing in textiles and locally produced goods. He said the Federal Government should introduce more robust policies aimed at supporting private enterprise development and education.
He urged the government to compel local, regional, national businesses and corporations to support the education of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship through active participation, facilitation, and mentoring programmes with young people and the unemployed.
He said Nigerians should not just wait to be employed, but evolve strategies that would enable them to be self-reliant. Makwana said, “Nigeria is most definitely an emerging economy with more of its population seeking entrepreneurship as a way of life. Although the country may be considered steep in resources such as oil, gas and cocoa, one should consider international trade in textiles, nylon and other locally produced goods.
“The government needs to consider investing more time and instilling more confidence in their entrepreneurs. There are some great talents among the people. Such people’s ideas and creativity should be exploited in a way that will be beneficial to the local economy.”