FG Confirms Sponsoring 422 Delegates to COP28

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has announced that only 422 of the total 1,411 Nigerian delegates at the ongoing COP28 were funded with taxpayers’ money.

This clarification followed the outrage over the size of Nigeria at the conference in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Minister of Information, Mr Mohammed Idris, disclosed this in a statement on Monday evening amidst concerns by Nigerians about the large number of the country’s delegates at the climate change conference in Dubai.

Business Post had reported that Nigeria was joint third with China behind the UAE and Brazil among all the countries present at COP28, and this had sparked reactions from citizens.

Out of the total 1,411 Nigerian delegates, 821 have the “Overflow” badges, while 590 were approved to carry the “Party” badge.

However, Mr Idris claims that not all the Party delegates were government-funded.

He said the 422 government-funded delegates were from seven broad institutions, including the Presidency which has 67 delegates.

Giving a breakdown he said, the Presidency took 67 delegates, while the office of the Vice President had nine representatives, and the National Assembly accounted for 40.

Others include the National Council on Climate Change with 32 berths, the Federal Ministry of Environment with 34, all ministries with 167 and Federal Parastatals/Agencies with 73 candidates.

Read the full statement by Mr Idris below.

Press Statement

RE: NIGERIA AT COP-28

The Federal Government has noted with interest the public conversation on the number of delegates from Nigeria attending the ongoing Climate Summit in Dubai, otherwise called COP-28, and the need to provide clarity in line with a standing pledge to conduct itself with transparency and accessibility regarding public information.

The Convention of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the world’s pre-eminent Climate Change Conference, attended this year (COP-28) by more than 70,000 participants and delegates from over 100 countries. Nigeria’s representation is very much in line with our status as Africa’s leading Sovereign voice and player in climate action.

Parties to this Convention from Nigeria include government officials, representatives from the private sector, civil society, the voluntary sector, state governments, media, multilateral institutions, representatives of marginalised communities, and many others.

It is imperative to point out that the overall Nigerian delegation to COP-28 comprises Government-sponsored (Federal and State Governments) and non-government-sponsored participants (from Private Companies, NGOs, CSOs, Media, academia, etc).

The Federal Government-funded delegation is made up of a total of 422 persons, as follows:

1. National Council on Climate Change = 32

2. Federal Ministry of Environment = 34

3. All Ministries = 167

4. Presidency = 67

5. Office of the Vice President = 9

6. National Assembly = 40

7. Federal Parastatals/Agencies = 73

As the biggest economy and most populous country in Africa, with a substantial extractive economy and extensive vulnerability to climate change, Nigeria has a significant stake in climate action, and our active and robust participation at COP is therefore not unwarranted.

COP-28 presents an array of investment and partnership opportunities for the various sectors affected by climate change, and Nigeria is already benefiting from its ongoing participation, as demonstrated by the following:

1. Nigeria and Germany signed an accelerated performance agreement to expedite the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) to improve Nigeria’s electricity supply. The agreement was signed by Mr. Kenny Anuwe, the Managing Director and CEO of FGN Power Company, and Ms. Nadja Haakansson, Siemens Energy’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, at a ceremony witnessed by President Tinubu and Chancellor Scholz.

2. President Tinubu hosted a high-level meeting with stakeholders and investors on the Nigeria Carbon Market and the Electric Buses Rollout Programme on the margins of the COP28 climate summit.

a. The President unveiled the Nigeria Carbon Market Activation Plan, co-chaired by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Zacch Adedeji, and the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), Dr. Dahiru Salisu.

b. The Electric Buses program is only the first step in a series of innovative, clean, modern, and sustainable initiatives across diverse sectors, all aimed at simultaneously addressing climate change-related challenges, reducing carbon footprint, modernizing infrastructure systems, and positioning Nigeria as an attractive destination for global investments.

3. Nigeria stands to benefit from the Loss and Damage Fund established during COP-27 in Egypt and formally operationalized at the opening plenary of COP-28 in Dubai. The Fund will provide substantial non-debt financing to support countries most affected by the impact of climate change. Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been pledged as contributions to the Fund.

4. The President also met the President of UAE to concretize engagements between the two countries. This is aside from the bilateral talks held with several countries and multilateral partners.

It should be highlighted that, over the years, Nigeria has firmly demonstrated its climate action credentials by being the first African country to launch its Energy Transition Plan, the first African country to issue a Sovereign Green Bond, and one of the first to pass national climate change legislation.

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 (UNGA), the G20, 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.

Mohammed Idris

Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation

4th December 2023

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