Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Temitope Ajayi, has corrected that Nigeria’s 1,411 delegates at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai were not all government-funded.
In a statement, Sunday, the presidential aide said the Nigerian delegation include civil society actors, business persons and others who have different roles to play at the conference.
Ajayi said the Nigerian delegation include business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists.
He, however, did not state the exact number of delegates being funded by the government amidst speculations that over 600 were government-funded.
“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, 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,” Ajayi said.
The response from the presidential spokesman is in reaction to presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 presidential election, Mr Peter Obi, who lampooned the federal government for allegedly sponsoring over the 1,411 Nigerian delegation to the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Obi had on Sunday in a post on his X handle sarcastically congratulated Nigeria for having the same number of delegations like China’s.
“In a twist of sad irony, let me congratulate the giant of Africa, Nigeria, for matching the great China, with the same number of contingents at the ongoing
COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nigeria’s contingent to COP28 totaled 1411, the same number as the Chinese contingents.
“While China’s budget for 2024 is about $4 trillion, about $2,860 per head; Nigeria’s budget is about $33bn, about $165 per head. China has a high Human Development Index, HDI, with a ranking of 79 out of 191 countries measured, and Nigeria has a low HDI, with a ranking of 163 out of 191 countries measured,” Obi said.
He noted that Nigeria has more people living in ‘multi-dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times Nigeria’s population.