Temitope Ajayi, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, has cleared the air on the controversies surrounding the 1,411 Nigerian delegates at the ongoing Climate Summit, COP28, in Dubai.
Nigerians have taken to their social media accounts to criticise the decision to send hundreds of delegates to the summit at a time when they said the government should be more concerned about the affairs of the citizens in the face of the rising cost of living.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is attending the summit for the first time as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Speaking on to the criticism in an article titled ‘Nigeria at COP28: Separating the facts from fiction,’ the presidential aide, Temitope Ajayi, explained that the 1,411 delegates are not all government-funded.
Without mentioning how many of the delegates were funded by the Federal Government, the presidential media aide pointed out that those who went to the international event included civil society actors, journalists, businesspersons, and climate activists, all with various responsibilities.
“In Nigeria, like so many other countries, interested parties comprising government officials from both federal and sub-national governments, environmentalists, climate activists, business leaders, journalists and agencies of government such as the NNPC and its subsidiaries, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NIMASA, and the NDDC are present in Dubai.
“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,” he wrote.
UN Climate Change conferences (or COPs) take place every year and are the world’s only multilateral decision-making forum on climate change with almost complete membership of every country in the world.
A total of approximately 70,000 participants are expected in Dubai for COP28.
Participation to COP28 and access to the blue zone is restricted to delegates, admitted observer organizations and accredited members of the press and media. Delegations from all 199 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will attend the conference.