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Saturday, January 28, 2023

High cost of living threatens Nigerians’ stay at COP27

Many Nigerians at the ongoing international climate change conference (COP27) in Egypt may cut short their participation due to the high cost of accommodation.

Sham El-Sheikh
COP27, Sham El-Sheikh, Egypt

Hoteliers and landlords in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh increased rates as more than 50,000 participants travelled to the country for the conference.

Sharm El-Sheikh is the venue of the 27th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A check on the hotels in the city shows a rise of more than 400 per cent in room rates.

Dare Akogun, a Nigerian journalist who was at the city to cover the 14-day event, said that he could only afford to stay a week because of the accommodation cost.

Akogun said that he had paid close to $500 for accommodation in less than a week that he came to Egypt.

“I arrived at the city on Nov. 5 and went straight to the hotel I checked online and saw $40 per night which is N34,000.

“I couldn’t, however, book online with my Naira card because of the limit on international transactions.

“Surprisingly, when I got to the hotel to pay, the receptionist told me it is $175 per night,’’ he said.

Akogun said that he was shocked, but because it was already late, he had no option than to pass the night there.

“I had to move into an apartment shared by other delegates from Uganda, Mali and Nigeria who are also in the same category,’’ he said.

Another delegate of a non-governmental organisation from Nigeria, Israel Kingsley shared a similar experience.

Kingsley said that when he could not afford the cost of hotel accommodation, he opted for private apartment, which he said was also expensive.

“I tell you sincerely that I pay $40 per night where I sleep now.

“It is too much, and I think the people of Egypt are deliberate about it. They exploit the delegates unnecessarily.

“Egyptian government has to investigate this and do the needful,’’ he said.

Kingsley said that some of the delegates also put up in the nearby city of Dahab, some 90 kilometres away from Sharm El-Sheikh without a direct daily bus service.

“Partner organisations that have supported CSOs to attend COP27 had to set up shuttles to and from the COP27 venue at the rate of $15 daily,’’ he said.

Patricia Mulenga, a Ugandan, who narrated her experience, said the organisers were unfair to participants attending the conference.

“I don’t understand why accommodations are so high in this city despite the fact that over 50,000 people will be here for just two weeks,” Mulenga said.

Another COP attendant, who resides in Dahab, Jumoke Alade, an environmental activist, also complained of cost of accommodation and commuting daily to and from the venue.

“Aside the accommodation issue, Nigerian participants also complained about the food, which they said, did not come close to the staples in Nigeria,” Alade said.

But one of the merchants, who spoke at the Naema Bay market, Omar Ibrahim said things were generally costly in Sharm El-Sheikh.

“This is Sharm, and you can’t compare it with other cities in the country,’’ said Ibrahim, who operates a supermarket at Naama Bay market.

The apex meeting on climate change in the world will end on Nov. 18. 

By Usman Aliyu

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