President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been condemned for being insensitive to the current hardship in Nigeria as he reportedly travelled with over 1,400 delegates to the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.
Recall that President Tinubu on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, departed Abuja to Dubai after presenting the 2024 budget to the national assembly.
The United Nations had said this year’s Conference of the Parties will be held from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The UN released a list of participants from Nigeria who would be taking part in the event, which ranged from people in the president’s office to private, non-governmental groups in Lagos and other parts of the country.
It said at least 1,411 delegates attended from Nigeria. Out of the total, at least 589 people followed the president directly to the conference, including cabinet ministers and their aides.
Civil servants are also on the list, including some officials whose purviews did not cover climate policy, like an interior ministry aide in charge of personnel management.
The trip would easily cost Nigeria billions at a time Tinubu’s administration is asking the country’s predominantly poor citizens to endure further hardship as a result of his removal of subsidy on petrol consumption in the country.
The president’s son, Seyi, who has no official designation and was recently warned by his father to stop meddling in government functions, was also at the conference on public dole.
While the list also includes the media and non-governmental organisations, it was unclear how many of them were funded by the public.
But representatives of media organisations like the NTA, NAN, VON, and Radio Nigeria, among others, are already government employees and would be funded by the taxpayers of the UAE.
The UN said Nigeria has the third-largest delegation to the event, behind only China and Brazil, which both have significant input in global climate policies than Nigeria. Nigeria’s delegation surpassed the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, according to UN disclosures.
Nigeria will not be presenting any major policy proposals at the conference, and no official could justify the need for such a high number of delegates when asked by Peoples Gazette on Saturday afternoon.
Tinubu had in 2022 vowed not to cooperate with Western emission policies because of Nigeria’s underdevelopment, saying the developed countries should first give money to Africans before expecting any allyship in emission cuts.
Meanwhile, some Nigerians have taken to social media to berate Tinubu over the number of delegates to the conference.
Commenting on the development on X, ‘Dee Of MedPlug, @LuyiDee, said “Nigeria carried 590 people to a conference on climate change in another country. Flights, accommodation, logistics, feeding, ESTACODE. For a fxcking broke country.”
Another user, Niger Delta, @Franeb, said, “If you’re paying Taxes in Nigeria you are wasting your time. You are just Paying money to the Tinubu family to enjoy. Please tell me what is Seyi Tinubu and his brother doing at a Climate change meeting in Dubai. Nothing good can come out of this.”
Mindset, @Mindset_Post, on his part, noted, “So Toke Makinwa is on the list of delegates to Dubai for the climate change summit, with taxpayers’ money?
Another user, A Field Marshal of the Han Dynasty, @General_Oluchi, said, “Toke Makinwa was included on Tinubu’s 1,411 delegates to the Climate Summit in Dubai under an unpaid advisory capacity.
“Is there anyone closely related, working for, working with or even accidentally connected to the Nigerian government that is working for free? Please explain to me what an unpaid adviser is
On his part, Baron Chymaker., @chymaker, said, “Imagine how leaders of other countries see @officialABAT for taking 1411 delegates to Dubai and over 500 to attend the Climate Change Conference. Just think about how they’ll look at him.”