Governor Udom Emmanuel has urged the United States government to reconsider its recent visa restriction on Nigerians, especially Akwa Ibom indigenes.
He made the appeal yesterday while receiving the Deputy Chief of Missions of the United States Embassy, Nigeria, Kathleen FitzGibbon, and the Deputy Chief of Missions of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Katie Donohoe, at his Awa Iman country home in Onna council area of the state.
Considering the numerous of ties between the American and the state governments, the governor noted that most indigenes had genuine businesses in the United States.
He sued for more transparent and collaborative processes between international donor agencies and the Akwa Ibom government in the budgeting and implementation of health campaigns in the state.
Emmanuel observed that active partnership with relevant agencies would ensure accountability and forestall duplication of efforts and needless waste of scarce resources with minimal results, describing as huge, the amount said to have been expended in the last 10 years by USAID state on HIV/AIDS sensitisation in the state.
According to him, for most people in rural areas of the state to be reached on the imperatives of the scourge and other health challenges, there was need to synergise efforts, especially during the planning and implementation of programmes funded by the U.S. government.
The governor lauded the missions for their contribution towards safeguarding the state against the epidemic and other diseases, pledging the government’s support to reduce HIV-related stigmas and provide the needed resources.
Earlier, FitzGibbon said they were in the state to intimate the current administration of the assistance her home country was rendering to contain the dreaded bug.
She solicited more support from the government to ensure zero tolerance for stigmatisation of people living with the virus, thus ensuring greater access to quality anti-retroviral drugs to sustain life and also to prevent the spread of the ailment.
FitzGibbon stressed the need for the state to enact the anti-stigma law to address the challenge, hinting on the mega PCR laboratory donated by USAID that requires medical lab scientists from the state for efficient services.