CRISIS HITS NIGERIA-SAOTOME $300M DEAL

A crisis of confidence has hit Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority (JDA),
following alleged arbitrary sack of 35 workers by the management.

The crisis is threatening the $300 million oil deal between the two nations.
Of those sacked, 16 are Santomeans. This led to a diplomatic tension between the two countries.

It was gathered that a former presidential aide in the administration of ex- President Goodluck Jonathan was calling the shot through a stooge he put in JDA in 2010.

The IDA topshot was sacked by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo but Jonathan’s former aide
brought him back.

The government of São Tomé and Principe was said to be unhappy with the development in the JDA.
But the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajiya Khadijat Ibrahim , was said to be looking into the petitions against the management.

She is the nation’s leader of delegation to JDA and empowered by the treaty to look into any infractions.
The treaty between the two countries led to the auctioning of five blocks in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Over $300 million.
Production was, however, yet to start due to administrative bottleneck and the two nations were yet to earn post-licensing round profit.

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The setback was attributed to the mismanagement of the JDA by the officers in charge.

The management crisis reached its peak in June, leading to the exit of some Santomeans. According to a document obtained by our correspondent, the management laid off 35 of the 56
workers in one day without the permission of the Joint Ministerial Council( JMC) and in violation of
Article 7(2) (b) of the treaty.

The workers were given letters in June, which some refused to collect.
Although the letter indicated that the JDA was scaling down, it was gathered that the workers were asked to
go after a disagreement between the management and workers.

The points of disagreement are:
alleged diversion of N900 million voted for JDA Secretariat in Abuja to private use: alleged collection of N260 million bribe from contractors handling the secretariat; deliberate frustration of JDA activities; undermining the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) by
the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Kashim M. Tumsah;
Witch-hunt of workers through abuse of disciplinary procedures; non-auditing of JDA’s account since 2008; and
budget for LPG plant now being used for
administrative purpose.

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A copy of the sack letter, obtained by our
correspondent, was signed by Chairman of the Board/ ED C and I, Luis Prazeres and Tumsah.

The letter, exclusively obtained by The Nation, reads:
“As you are aware, the JDA has been facing serious
challenges due to dwindling revenue and lack of
contribution by the state parties .
“You would recall that at the Board/ Staff retreat in
February, the board published finances of the
organisation and informed staff that unless funding is
received, the current funds could only sustain
operations till June 2016 and the JDA will be left with
no option but to scale down its activities and staffing.
“The financial situation has been further exacerbated
by the absence of an officially constituted JMC and
lack of response from the states parties on the JMC
constitution and funding challenges.
“Furthermore, the level of operational activities in the
JDA/JDZ does not justify the current staffing,
emolument and overhead costs.
“Thus, the board and management consider it
necessary and expedient to scale down operations of
the JDA temporarily to review the staffing, structure
and funding of the JDA to ensure and sustain its
continued survival in line with the treaty.
“Consequent upon the above, the board has decided
that you should not report for work, effective Monday,
June 13, 2016, due to service exigencies pending the
conclusion of the restructuring and reorganisation of
the JDA and/ or when the funding challenges
improve.
“While you are at home, you will not be entitled to any
pay due yo lean finances of the organi

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