Cop28: FG speaks on ‘sponsoring 1,411 delegates to Dubai’

The Presidency has debunked social media claims that the federal government sponsored all Nigerian representatives at the ongoing 28th Convention of Parties on Climate Summit (CoP28) in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In a piece written on Sunday by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, the Presidency also pointed out that President Bola Tinubu and other senior officials of his administration have attended the important global event for serious business and not mere jamboree.

Ajayi was reacting to various concerns being raised by diverse interests, especially in the social media space, over the large number of the Nigerian contingent to the event, which also attracted over 97,000 participants from more than 100 countries across the world.

Data available on the registration platforms of the organisers of the CoP28 showed that 1,411 Nigerians have been registered to participate in the ongoing event, however, feelings and opinions being passed around in the conversations have suggested that all the participants had been sponsored by the federal government, on public funds.

But in his piece, titled ‘Nigeria at COP28: Separating the facts from fiction’, Ajayi pointed out that “the people coming together to advance their different agenda and interests from governments, businesses, and civil societies are the parties to the convention who represent various shades of opinions and pushing for various mitigating actions.

He said: “In Nigeria like so many other countries, interested parties comprising government officials from both the Federal and sub-national governments, business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists, and journalists are present in Dubai.

“Also participating are agencies of government such as the NNPC and its subsidiaries, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NIMASA, and NDDC. Many youth organisations from Nigeria especially from the Northern and Niger Delta regions whose lives and livelihoods are most impacted by desert encroachment and hydrocarbon activities are also represented.

“The President of Ijaw Youth Council, Jonathan Lokpobiri, leads a pan-Ijaw delegation of more than 15 people who registered as parties from Nigeria. Among delegates from Nigeria are also over 20 journalists from various media houses.

“Their participation is very important. It is not for jamboree as it is being mischievously represented on social media. It is important to state here that delegates from all countries whether from government, private sector, media, and civil society groups attend COP summits and conferences as parties and the number of attendees is registered against their countries of origin.

“This does not mean that they are sponsored or funded by the government. It must be said also that the fact that people registered to attend a conference does not mean everyone that registered is physically present.”

Meanwhile, while pointing out the importance of Nigeria’s participation and achievements being made from CoP28 by the Tinubu administration, Ajayi said besides re-echoing the essence of just treatment for Nigeria and Africa in the energy transition process, President Tinubu has also used the opportunity to broker deals and attract new commitments from various levels of relations.

Ajayi said: “Like former President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders who demanded fair deal and climate justice for Africa at previous UN Climate summits, President Tinubu is leading the charge at COP28 on behalf of Nigeria and the rest of the continent, demanding from the West that any climate decision and action must be fair and just to Africa and Nigeria in particular, especially the debate around energy transition.

“President Tinubu has been unequivocal in his position that Africa which is battling problems of poverty, security and struggling to provide education and healthcare to her people cannot be told to abandon its major source of income which is mostly from extractive industries without the West providing the funding and investment in alternative and clean energy sources.

“President Tinubu and other officials on the Federal government delegation are in Dubai for serious business, not jamboree. Our President has been very busy representing our country well. Since Thursday morning when he arrived in Dubai, President Tinubu has spent not less than 18 hours daily attending very important sessions, pushing our national agenda whilst holding bilateral and business meetings on the sidelines.”