Amidst social media scrutiny surrounding the significant Nigerian delegation at the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, the Presidency released a statement on Sunday, shedding light on the composition of the attendees. The statement, signed by President Bola Tinubu’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, emphasized that only a handful of the 1,411 Nigerian delegates were sponsored by the Federal Government.
The statement clarified that the majority of the delegation comprised private sector players, including businesspeople, civil society organizations, and representatives from Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta region. Ajayi underscored that these delegates were present to advocate for their respective causes, emphasizing that their participation was not a mere jamboree.
“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 they are sponsored or funded by the government,” the statement read.
Ajayi addressed concerns about the large Nigerian contingent, stating, “As the biggest country in Africa, the biggest economy, and one with a bigger stake in climate action as a country with a huge extractive economy, it is a no-brainer that delegates from Nigeria will be more than any other country in Africa.” He highlighted the involvement of stakeholders beyond the government, including prominent figures like UBA Chairman Tony Elumelu and BUA Group Chairman AbdulSamad Rabiu, who actively promote sustainability and climate action through their philanthropies.
The Presidency clarified that the nature of the United Nations Climate Summit attracts participants from various sectors globally, including statesmen and women, politicians, corporate leaders, journalists, and activists. Ajayi explained that the parties involved encompass government officials, business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists, and journalists from Nigeria.
He further detailed the participation of Nigerian agencies such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Niger Delta Development Commission, and various youth organizations. The statement emphasized the importance of their participation, dismissing the notion that it was merely a jamboree, and highlighted the critical role diverse stakeholders play in addressing global concerns collectively.