The Federal Government has provided clarification on Monday, stating that it financially supported 422 delegates attending the current climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
This summit, the 28th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, is taking place from November 30 to December 12, 2023, at Expo City.
Concerns and criticisms have arisen regarding the reported 1,411 delegates from Nigeria participating in the event, especially amidst government advisories to cut costs and in the face of economic challenges.
In his official response to the criticisms, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris on Monday, pointed out that “The overall Nigerian delegation to COP-28 comprised of Government-sponsored (Federal and State Governments) and non-government-sponsored participants (from Private Companies, Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations, media, academia, etc).”
According to the breakdown of the government-funded delegates contained in a statement signed by the minister himself, “32 delegates were from the National Council on Climate Change; 34 from the Federal Ministry of Environment; 167 delegates from All Ministries; 67 from presidency; nine from the office of the Vice President; 40 from the National Assembly; and 73 from the Federal parastatals/agencies.”
This came as Idris added that President Bola Tinubu and other officials were in Dubai for ‘serious business’ and not for jamboree.
He said, “President Tinubu has been unequivocal in his position that Africa, which is battling problems of poverty and security and struggling to provide education and healthcare to her people, cannot be told to abandon its primary source of income, which is mostly from extractive industries, without the West providing the funding and investment in alternative and clean energy sources.
“Since assuming office, President Tinubu has been a vocal champion for the African continent on the global stage, whether at the United Nations General Assembly, the G-20, or the ongoing COP-28. The President has been supported by an equally active and engaged Nigerian delegation at these various fora.
“It is therefore, essential to keep setting the records straight while assuring Nigerians that President Tinubu and other officials on the Federal Government delegation are in Dubai for serious business, not a jamboree.”
However, there has been concerns that Tinubu did not make any speech at the ongoing conference. This has led to speculations on the social media and other platforms.
In its reaction, the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party said that it was not surprised that Tinubu did not deliver his scheduled address at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as the Conference of Parties, COP 28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Olagunagba, in an interview with our correspondent said Tinubu and All Progressives Congress-led Federal government had no plan for Nigerians.
Ologunagba who berated the President for embarking on the trip with bloated government delegates lamented that the President was nowhere to be found when it mattered the most.
He said “This government has no plan for anything and we are not surprised. They started this a long time ago. President Tinubu did it before and during the 2023 Presidential election. He’s not interested in engaging with Nigerians.
“Recall that during the election, he didn’t show up in all the debates. So the man is not concerned about Nigeria, he has no idea. To him, everything is about self-fulfillment, not about the people.
“So what he has done in Dubai is not far from what his known for. During the campaign, he didn’t answer Nigerians questions. He didn’t speak with Nigerians. So we are just a number, that he does not think he holds us any responsibility to account.”
Meanwhile, the chief spokesman for the Labour Party Campaign Organisation, Yunusa Tanko, has expressed concern over President Tinubu’s failure to give a speech at the ongoing climate change summit.