- The President of São Tomé and Príncipe, Fradique de Menezes, has solicited Nigeria's assistance in the exploration and exploitation of its oil reserves. President de Menezes made this known at a state banquet organised in his honour by the government of Nigeria's oil rich Rivers State, as part of his state visit to Nigeria.
The São Toméan President disclosed that his country was a late-comer in the oil business and would therefore look forward to benefiting maximally from a joint development partnership with Nigeria, according to a press release issued by the Nigerian government today.
According to Mr de Menezes, "the collaboration between the Rivers State of Nigeria and the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe will help avoid the mistakes that were made in the past by African oil producing countries." He commended Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo for the friendship and assistance he has extended to his country and thanked the Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili, for his warm reception and hospitality.
- Nigeria and São Tomé and Príncipe have already achieved much together with the creation of a joint development zone which serves as a model of cooperation among Africa nations, the São Toméan President was quoted as saying.
Speaking earlier, Governor Odili said President de Menezes' visit has opened a new vista of hope and cooperation for the two countries. The Rivers State Governor had observed that the agreement signed between Nigeria and São Tomé to support a joint development zone would "make the two countries economic leaders in the continent of Africa."
Mr Odili further commended President de Menezes for diversifying his country's economy by shifting attention to the huge untapped offshore oil reserves despite its agricultural resources. The Governor noted that both Nigeria and São Tomé have had experiences of colonialism and military intervention and called on both countries to ensure that those experiences remained in the past.
As part of the tour, the São Toméan President visited some oil installations, Intel facilities, the Nigeria Naval College, all at Onne, and the Trans Amadi Gas Turbine in Port Harcourt. President de Menezes was accompanied on the visit by Ovidio Pequeno, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Arlindo de Carvello, Minister of Natural Resources and Manuel de Deus Lima, Economic Adviser.
The São Toméan President earlier had met with his Nigerian counterpart and signed a declaration on the joint development zone that provides for unprecedented transparency regarding future oil production there. All bids and transactions are to be made public, including the public spending derived out of the zone's future oil revenues.
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