How Nigeria can help Sao Tome

Jun 28, 2004 02:00 AM

President of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Mr Fradique Melo De Menezes, solicited Nigeria's assistance in the exploitation of his country's oil and gas resources. He also canvassed for unity of purpose and brotherly union among staff of the Joint Development Authority (JDA), an organisation supervising the execution of the 2002 Joint Development Agreement between Sao Tome and Principe and Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea.
De Menezes who was speaking in Port Harcourt at a banquet in his honour during a two-day official visit to Rivers State applauded the creation of a joint development zone between his country and Nigeria. He also said "it will serve as a model of co-operation among African nations."

He expressed optimism that the collaboration between his country and Nigeria would strengthen the relationship between the two countries and thereby help to eliminate the mistakes that were made in the past by some African countries. He said although his country has a lot of oil and gas, "It was a late comer in the oil business and would therefore look forward to benefiting maximally from a joint development partnership with Nigeria."
Menezes said "Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe have already achieved much together with the creation of a joint development zone which serves as a model of cooperation among African nations."

Accompanied by the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ovidio Pequeno, Minister of Natural Resources, Mr Arlindo de Carvallo and his economic adviser, Mr Manuel de Deus Lima, Menezes toured the Oil and Gas Free Zone, Onne, the Rivers State Independent Power Plant, the Trans Amadi Gas Turbine and the Naval College, Onne.
At the Naval College, Menezes lauded the Nigerian Navy for providing adequate security and defence for Nigeria. He expressed optimism that the Nigerian Navy should extend its defence to cover the Gulf of Guinea. He also commended the college for allocating 21 admission slots to his country.

Earlier, Governor Peter Odili had saidthe visit of Menezes has opened a new vista of hope for Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe. Odili said that the agreement signed between Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe to support a joint development zone would make both countries to become economic leaders in the African continent.
He commended Menezes for diversifying his country’s economy by shifting attention to a huge untapped offshore oil reserve despite its agricultural resources.

Also, while addressing the management and staff at a reception organised in his honour at the headquarters of the JDA, Menezes advised them to always bear in mind the objectives for establishing the body which is to foster economic and regional integration for mutual benefits of the two neighbours.
"This organisation is bilingual comprising of indigenes of two different countries with differences in language and culture but we have a common purpose. And I hope that in future, we may have to discover a common language that would guide our official interactions", hesaid.

Speaking on the issue of workers' welfare and conditions of service, Menezes said though what is on ground may not entirely be satisfactory, there is need for the staff to cooperate with the management by carrying out their responsibilities properly. He assured them that the management of the authority is in capable hands and that at the appropriate time they would look into the matter. He said the Authority has performed well in spite of some constraints and commended the staff for their dedication and hard work.
Welcoming the Visitor, the Chairman of the Board of JDA, Engr. Carlos Gomes, said the impact of the president's visit will serve to reassure the staff especially those of them from Sao Tome and Principe that the country remembers and cares for them.

Source: THISDAYonline
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