Amid controversy surrounding the 1,411 Nigerian delegates attending the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a chieftain of the Labour Party (LP), Tanko Yunusa, says the Federal Government should publish the number of persons it sponsored to the event.
Tanko, who is the presidential campaign spokesman of the Labour Party (LP) made the comment when he appeared on Channels Television’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily in the wake of the criticisms that greeted the country’s delegates’ list to the outing.
“The question we should ask is: Was there any communication by the government to the people of Nigeria that we are going with ‘x’ amount of numbers? There was no communication. So you could find it very difficult to understand exactly how they came about that particular number,” he said on Monday.
“There are various NGOs that have the opportunity to get international funding to sponsor their trips. But what we are saying is that the number of Nigeria delegates sponsored by the government should have been made public for us to know.
There has been widespread criticism over the number of delegates from the country attending the Dubai event with many calling it insensitive owing to Nigeria’s current economic struggles.
With the cost of living rising since the removal of fuel subsidy, Tanko maintains the government should clarify if it indeed sponsored all delegates from the country.
“If the government is saying that they didn’t sponsor all of the 1,411 delegates, let them give us the delegate number that the government sponsored,” the LP chieftain insisted.
He criticised the lack of communication and transparency from the government and suggested that the trip seemed more like an excursion
“Everything was kept in its crude and the only thing we saw was the number of 1,411 people going to Dubai for what I will call ‘Come, let us go and chop and relax’ rather than you ‘Come, let us go and make money for Nigeria’.”
Highlighting concerns about accountability, Tanko claims the government has a history of wasteful spending and a penchant for concealing information from the public.
“This is not the first time; they already have a track record and the people have accused the government of wasteful spending. So, they should have been more careful as regards when they were going to Dubai, he said.
But anyway, the problem is that the government itself does not really care what the people feel. They hold them in distrust and these are some of the lies that are in the system that Nigerians are demanding for accountability.
Presidency Denies Claims
However, the presidency has faulted critics over the country’s delegate list to the COP28, saying the government did not sponsor all of them.
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, presidential aide Temitope Ajayi said.
“This does not mean that they are sponsored or funded by the government. It must be said also that the fact that people registered to attend a conference does not mean everyone who registered is physically present.