The ongoing climate change summit (COP28) in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, has exposed the extravagant and wasteful spending habits of the Nigerian government.
Nigeria has sent a staggering 1,411 delegates to the conference, making it the third-largest delegation in the world, behind only China and Brazil.
However, the government claims that it only sponsored 422 of them, leaving the rest to be funded by other sources.
The huge number of Nigerian delegates has sparked outrage and criticism from various quarters, including the opposition parties, civil society organizations, and the general public.
They have described the delegation as a jamboree and a misuse of scarce resources, especially at a time when the country is facing multiple challenges such as insecurity, poverty, unemployment, inflation, and debt.
The presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi respectively, have condemned the government for sending such a large delegation to the summit.
They have challenged the government to name the delegates, disclose their roles and contributions to the conference, and justify their expenses. They have also urged the National Assembly to probe the delegation and hold the government accountable.
They have further asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be ready to refund the amounts spent on delegates who have no important role at the conference.
A list of registered Nigerian participants at the COP28 Conference, obtained from the UN website, reveals the identities and affiliations of some of the delegates.
Among them are President Tinubu’s son, Seyi; chefs, luggage officers, stewards, and over 50 personal assistants. The delegation also comprises over 30 ministers and heads of government agencies, such as the Ministers of Environment, Water Resources, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Aviation, Information, Lakpobiri, Petroleum, Mineral Resources, Attorney-General, Gas Development, Abubakar Kyari, Agriculture, Power, Youth and Sport, State for Environment, Education, and others.
Also on the list are some celebrities and individuals with no apparent connection to the climate change agenda, such as an actress and on-air personality, Toke Makinwa, IBD Dende, and two senior special assistants to the Lagos State governor (state lotteries & corporate finance/investments), a member representing Lagos Island II in the Lagos State House of Assembly and a staff of PZ Cussons.
The list also shows that 138 delegates are from the State House, 54 from the National Council on Climate Change, 53 from the Ministry of Environment, 36 from the National Assembly, and 28 from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The COP28 Conference is a global platform for countries to discuss and take action on the pressing issue of climate change and its impacts on the environment, economy, and society.
The conference aims to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which Nigeria is a signatory to, and to raise the ambition and commitment of countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
However, the huge delegation of Nigeria to the summit raises questions about the sincerity and seriousness of the government to address the climate change challenge. It also casts doubt on the transparency and accountability of the government in managing the public funds and resources.
The government owes the Nigerian people an explanation and an apology for this outrageous and irresponsible act.