Category: nigeria

#EndSARS protests: Evaluating Nigeria’s well being and training spending to price of lawmaker maintenance

Nigeria noticed main protests over police brutality and weak governance in October 2020, with younger folks demanding reforms.

Throughout and after the #EndSARS protests, which attracted worldwide consideration, a number of claims concerning the nation’s improvement circulated on social media. 

One of many most generally shared claims in contrast nationwide spending on well being and training to the finances for lawmakers.

“Nigeria’s healthcare finances is N46 billion for 200 million folks. Nigeria’s training finances is N48 billion for 200 million folks. Nigeria’s legislator’s finances is N125 billion for 465 folks. The politician vs the folks,” it learn

We checked if the out there proof backed up these figures. 


Nigeria’s healthcare finances is N46 billion for 200 million folks.



No reference interval is given for this and the opposite claims. As of 1 July 2020, the UN estimated Nigeria’s inhabitants at 206.3 million.

To fact-check this declare, we first seemed on the 2021 finances proposals president Muhammadu Buhari offered to the nationwide meeting on 8 October 2020, whereas the protests have been underway.

On this finances, the federal authorities proposed to allocate N380.21 billion to healthcare, or about eight instances the N46 billion given within the graphic.  

We additionally seemed on the present finances. The allocation to well being was initially N441 billion, earlier than being pared right down to N414.46 billion because of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impression on the economic system. 

Information from our promise tracker instrument exhibits budgetary allocations to well being from 2017 to 2019 have been not less than N300 billion.

Healthcare persistently underfunded

Healthcare is underfunded in Nigeria, with its share of the finances often lower than 5%, Prof Kayode Osungbade, who teaches well being coverage and administration on the College of Ibadan, advised Africa Examine. 

Healthcare will get simply 2.9% of the whole finances proposed for 2021. Our promise tracker reveals that its finances has not breached 5% since 2015. 

That is regardless of the 2001 Abuja Declaration wherein African nations set a goal to spend not less than 15% of their annual finances on well being, Osungbade stated.  

“Budgeting so little for well being means there can be poor infrastructure, insufficient provides and low-quality healthcare supply.”


Nigeria’s training finances is N48 billion for 200 million folks.



The 2020 finances initially allotted N686.8 billion to training, earlier than revising this to N473.05 billion.

The federal government allotted N541 billion to training in 2018  and N462 billion in 2019, our promise tracker exhibits

For 2021, the federal government has proposed an allocation of N545.1 billion.

Nathaniel Abraham, a professor of instructional administration on the College of Port Harcourt, stated it was an indication of insufficient funding that the training finances was being in contrast with the price of the nationwide meeting.

He cited poor funding and low workers morale as a few of the challenges dealing with public studying establishments in Nigeria.

Extra funding would assist “rebuild our colleges, practice lecturers, present tools and studying materials, and construct expert manpower for the way forward for this nation”, Abraham advised Africa Examine.


Nigeria’s legislator’s finances is N125 billion.



The federal government has proposed N128 billion for the nationwide meeting in 2021.

That is unchanged from the determine the meeting authorized in December 2019. Lawmakers declined to move the N125 billion finances Buhari initially proposed.

Because of the pandemic the manager additionally proposed to chop the meeting’s finances to N115.2 billion however this was additionally not authorized.

The N125 billion declare is N3 billion in need of what was finally authorized.

Some lawmakers have argued that decreasing the nationwide meeting finances wouldn’t make a distinction to the economic system.

However a leaner federal parliament would have a big impact, in response to Abubakar Abdullahi, a professor of improvement economic system and coverage on the Usman Danfodiyo College Sokoto.

Given poverty ranges in Nigeria, “N128 billion makes an enormous distinction,” he advised Africa Examine.

“A minimal wage of about N30,000 a month is but to be totally applied; that’s N1,000 a day. Are you aware what number of minimal wages are in N128 billion?” 

Abdullahi stated that in a scenario the place many of the inhabitants had low buying energy, extra public funds would assist strengthen the nation’s productive sectors, “which incorporates training and healthcare”.

READ: Does a Nigerian lawmaker earn greater than US President Donald Trump?


There are 465 federal legislators.



The graphic means that 465 federal legislators make up Nigeria’s nationwide meeting. 

The nation has a two-chamber legislature;: the senate and home of representatives. The senate has 109 seats, comprising three senatorial districts for every of Nigeria’s 36 states and one for the federal capital. 

The home has 360 members. Whereas the variety of federal constituencies varies from one state to a different, 358 members signify federal constituencies in 36 states whereas two signify Abuja.

Altogether, there are 469 federal legislators, not 465.

© Copyright Africa Examine 2020. Learn our republishing tips. You could reproduce this piece or content material from it for the aim of reporting and/or discussing information and present occasions. That is topic to: Crediting Africa Examine within the byline, protecting all hyperlinks to the sources used and including this sentence on the finish of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Examine, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the unique piece on their web site”, with a hyperlink again to this web page.

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Nigeria’s inhabitants, financial system and historical past: fact-checking Buhari’s independence day speech

As Nigeria marked 60 years of independence on 1 October,  president Muhammadu Buhari gave a speech that often appeared to the previous. 

The president made quite a lot of claims in his handle, starting from the inhabitants and financial system to navy rule and gasoline value will increase. We took a better have a look at eight.   


At independence, Nigeria had a inhabitants of 45 million



Nigeria’s inhabitants figures have traditionally been controversial, with useful resource allocation recognized as a key cause for this.

Gbolahan Oni is professor of demography and social statistics at Covenant College in southwestern Nigeria. He instructed Africa Test that solely United Nations and World Financial institution inhabitants estimates ought to be relied on when earlier years.

“These organisations have demographers who use scientific formulation to derive the inhabitants estimates, decreasing the impact of overcounting and undercounting that happen in our census,” Oni stated.  

Knowledge from the World Financial institution and the UN’s division of financial and social affairs exhibits Nigeria’s inhabitants was 45.1 million in 1960.

That estimate was particularly for 1 July 1960, three months earlier than independence day, the UN division instructed Africa Test. 


Nigeria’s city inhabitants at independence was roughly 7 million



For the share of Nigeria’s inhabitants labeled as city in 1960, Dr Thomas Spoorenberg directed us to the most recent estimate from the World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision

This was ready by the UN’s division of financial and social affairs. Spoorenberg is the inhabitants affairs officer within the division’s inhabitants estimates and projection part. 

The report estimates Nigeria’s 1960 city inhabitants at 6.96 million

International locations outline city in several methods, the UN’s inhabitants division says. Most – “almost two thirds” – use an administrative definition “however virtually all of them add a component reminiscent of inhabitants dimension, density, financial occupation or city capabilities” to characterise city areas.

Denmark and Iceland, for instance, outline city locals as solely 200 inhabitants or extra, whereas the Netherlands and Nigeria have a threshold of 20,000.


‘Right now, we grapple with a number of challenges with a inhabitants exceeding 200 million.’



Buhari stated that whereas Nigeria’s landmass, which he gave as 910,768 sq. kilometres, remained the identical,  the inhabitants had grown to greater than 200 million individuals. 

Nigeria’s final inhabitants census was in 2006, when the Nationwide Inhabitants Fee recorded 140.4 million individuals. Even that rely confronted controversy.    

Since then the inhabitants has been primarily based on estimates, most just lately 199 million in 2017, a determine from the Nationwide Bureau of Statistics. Nationwide media have reported {that a} new census is within the offing.

The inhabitants fee at present estimates Nigeria’s inhabitants at 206.3 million, it was confirmed to Africa Test. 

As of 1 July 2020, the UN estimated that Nigeria was residence to greater than 206 million individuals. Its inhabitants division shared a graph of how the inhabitants has modified with time.

How does the UN make its estimate?

Nigeria’s most up-to-date official inhabitants estimate is from 2016, utilizing 2006 census figures as a place to begin. However whereas the UN has “used and regarded” these official estimates as much as 2016, Spoorenberg instructed us, particulars concerning the mortality, fertility and migration assumptions made weren’t obtainable. 

Nigeria’s official nationwide inhabitants determine for 2016 is larger than the UN’s inhabitants estimate by about 7.7 million, Spoorenberg stated.   

The UN inhabitants unit stated it had used a number of information sources, together with the 2006 and former inhabitants censuses, to tell its estimates about Nigeria. These return to 1950. 

The latest data used is the 2016/17 A number of Indicator Cluster Survey, Spoorenberg stated. This survey was not a part of official estimates as a result of the latter are inhabitants projections primarily based on the 2006 census. 

The UN “reappraises each different yr” the inhabitants estimates for all nations to take into consideration any new data. “A sure diploma of uncertainty surrounds the scale and construction of the inhabitants of Nigeria however given the demographic inertia a inhabitants can not change in a single day,” stated Spoorenberg.

“By mobilising fertility and mortality estimates from the newest surveys, demographers can supply pretty correct inhabitants estimates for Nigeria.”


52% of Nigeria’s present inhabitants lives in city areas



The UN’s division of financial and social affairs estimates Nigeria’s 2020 city inhabitants at 107.11 million

One other 99.04 million dwell in rural areas, for a complete inhabitants estimate of 206.15 million

Based mostly on these figures, 51.96% of Nigeria’s inhabitants lives in city areas. 

Leo Sanni, statistical data officer on the Nationwide Bureau of Statistics, confirmed that in Nigeria an space is taken into account to be city if it has a inhabitants of above 20,000. It additionally requires social infrastructure reminiscent of electrical energy, water provide and paved roads. 

The info additionally exhibits the nation’s urbanisation price has risen steadily from 15.4% in 1960 to 52% in 2020.


‘For a cumulative 29 of our 60 years of existence as a nation, we have now been below navy rule.’



Nigeria’s first expertise of navy rule began in 1966 with a coup, and lasted 13 years. In 1979, the nation’s fourth navy chief handed over energy to an elected authorities.

A second coup in 1983 introduced on 16 extra years of military rule, together with Buhari’s regime from 1983 to 1985. Navy rule led to 1999. So the president is right on this rating. 

However how do these two types of rule broadly evaluate?

There isn’t a lot to decide on between them, Silvanus Ebohon, professor of political science on the College of Benin in southern Nigeria, instructed Africa Test.

A member of the Independence Band performs on the Eagles Sq. in Abuja, Nigeria throughout the nation’s sixtieth Independence Day celebration on 1 October 2020. (Photograph: AFP/KOLA SULAIMON)

“One can argue that there was higher freedom of speech and affiliation below civil rule, however by way of improvement, there isn’t any actual distinction,” he stated.

Corruption was a standard theme throughout each civilian and navy rule, Ebohon stated, describing the nation’s political system as “dysfunctional”.

Professor Kamilu Fage teaches political science at Bayero College within the northern Nigerian metropolis of Kano. He was additionally of the view that politicians haven’t achieved any higher than the navy.

“Democracy is best than navy rule for the weather of accountability and free speech,” he instructed Africa Test. 

In his view, the Nigerian expertise was that the navy had achieved higher than civilians by way of governance, safety and selling nationwide unity.

Fage added that corruption had reduce throughout each navy and civilian rule.  


There was a 60% drop in authorities income



To justify elevated petrol costs, Buhari stated decrease earnings from each inside and exterior sources had triggered a pointy drop in authorities income. 

It’s not clear what timeframe he used, or if this was because of the pandemic, decrease oil costs, or each. We’ve got contacted the presidency for extra data.

He additionally didn’t specify whether or not he was referring to the whole income going into the federal account, or simply the income retained by the federal authorities after sharing with state and native governments. (For extra on this, learn our ‘Is Nigeria ‘formally broke’? fact-check printed in August 2020.

Paperwork from the funds workplace present that in revising the 2020 funds, the gross oil and fuel income goal was pared again from N7.67 trillion to N3.03 trillion

However as of Could, N1.99 trillion had been banked within the first 5 months of 2020, as an alternative of the projected oil and fuel income of N1.26 trillion. This can be a 57.4% surplus. 

After official deductions, Nigeria’s internet oil and fuel earnings from January to Could have been N1.45 trillion – N575.66 billion or 66.1% greater than what it anticipated to earn throughout that interval. 

For non-oil income reminiscent of taxes, the nation was projected to earn N4.81 trillion in 2020 after deductions, of which N2 trillion should have are available in by Could. However it solely earned N1.25 trillion within the first 5 months, a 37.4% shortfall.

These figures don’t help the declare of a 60% drop in income relative to the revised funds, at the least within the first 5 months of 2020. Nor do the 2021 funds proposals.

In 2019, internet oil income was quick by 62.8% and internet non-oil income by 11.9%, however the shortfall can’t be attributed to Covid-19. With out realizing for certain the interval or components thought-about by the president, we are able to solely price this declare as unproven.


There was a 40% drop in oil costs



Oil, Nigeria’s predominant export, accounts for 90% of overseas alternate and greater than half of presidency income.

The president’s speech was not clear on when the oil value dropped by 40%. The value has fallen at totally different charges in several durations.  

For instance, from January to April 2020 month-to-month common costs dropped 73%, in response to July 2020 information from the Nigerian Nationwide Petroleum Company. When each day costs are thought-about for a similar interval, a fall of as much as 90% was recorded. 

And within the yr to the president’s speech, from 1 October 2019, costs fell 36.5%. We’ve got requested the presidency for clarification. 

Adjustments in oil costs do have a direct impression on overseas alternate, Ndem Ndiyo, an economics professor on the College of Calabar in southern Nigeria, instructed Africa Test.  

“The frequent fluctuations in oil value has continued to impression Nigeria’s financial system as a result of we have now continued to rely largely on oil,” Ndiyo stated. “When oil costs drop it impacts authorities revenues that are used to service the financial system. Nonetheless, GDP doesn’t fluctuate as ceaselessly as oil costs.”


‘It is unnecessary for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.’



Nigeria’s latest will increase in pump costs have been unpopular. In his speech, Buhari in contrast the brand new costs to these in different oil producing nations reminiscent of Chad, Niger and Ghana. 

“Additional afield, Egypt prices N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia prices N168 per litre. It is unnecessary for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia,” he stated. The president gave the value in Nigeria as N168., an internet site that tracks the costs of petrol in additional than 160 nations, offers totally different figures. In addition they fluctuate considerably however, broadly, Nigeria’s costs are decrease than the nations he talked about. (Be aware: The positioning doesn’t observe Niger.)

We’ve requested the presidency for extra readability on the comparability and can replace this report with their response.

However consultants instructed Africa Test that it was not a straight comparability. “Costs of commodities reminiscent of petrol shouldn’t be in contrast in isolation,” stated Olusegun Ajibola, a professor of financial economics at Caleb College in Lagos

The right way to do a comparability

“So that you can arrive at an affordable conclusion you could additionally evaluate different costs, reminiscent of the price of labour together with salaries, rates of interest, hire and the inflation price,” he instructed us.

“The true worth of a foreign money shouldn’t be its alternate price however what it will possibly purchase. One pound may not be price a lot within the streets of London however its naira equal can feed a complete household in a day in some elements of Nigeria. 

“My wage as a professor transformed to the US greenback shouldn’t be sufficient to pay a driver in New York. However I’m dwelling on it right here. So buying energy parity have to be thought-about in comparisons like this.”

One other economics professor, Christopher Ekong of the College of Uyo in southern Nigeria, agreed that buying energy parity calculations ought to be utilized when evaluating Nigerian costs with these in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. 

However the comparability with neighbouring nations is extra difficult. 

“Petrol is costlier in neighbouring nations as a result of a lot of the petrol imported on the market in Nigeria is smuggled to its neighbours and offered at a better value,” Ekong stated.

Additional studying:

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World Financial institution makes use of outdated stats because it pronounces $500m Nigeria training funding plan

Asserting US$500 million in funding to assist educate ladies, the World Financial institution made two key claims about poverty and the variety of faculties in northern Nigeria. 

As many as 10 main faculties within the area had been served by just one secondary faculty, the financial institution stated, including that about 80% of poor households within the nation had been within the north. 

The sizable funding was broadly reported in the nationwide media. However are the financial institution’s claims correct? We checked. 


In northern Nigeria, the dearth of secondary faculties is considerably better with as much as 10 main faculties for each secondary faculty.



This declare ought to solely have been in reference to public faculties, Aby Toure, a communications officer on the World Financial institution, informed Africa Examine. She stated the determine was sourced from a June 2020 venture doc.

(The venture doc has a slight error. It says that “the dearth of secondary faculties is considerably better within the north with extra than 10 main faculties for each main faculty”.)

Mansir Nasir, a senior exterior affairs officer on the financial institution, gave extra particulars and stated the information was gleaned from the 2015/16 training administration data system and the 2018 nationwide personnel audit. The audit was compiled by Nigeria’s common primary training fee.  

Audit retracted that World Financial institution based mostly figures on

By legislation, the primary six years of main training and the primary three of junior secondary faculty are free and obligatory.

In its formal doc for the funding, the World Financial institution stated the latest knowledge it had, from the training administration data system, confirmed there have been 21,688 senior secondary faculties in 2015/16. 

However in December 2018, the essential training fee retracted the financial institution’s second knowledge supply. Schooling teams and activists stated the 2018 personnel audit was riddled with errors.

For instance, the audit captured figures from Enugu state as being from Ondo state, whereas it didn’t file knowledge for personal faculties in a lot of the nation’s southwestern states. Comparable errors had been additionally recognized for Anambra and Imo states within the southeast.

The audit additionally didn’t embody full knowledge on senior secondary faculties, as they will not be thought-about a part of primary training.

What does the latest knowledge present?

The declare can be incorrect if any a part of it was based mostly on the recalled audit, Oriyomi Ogunwale, who’s the venture lead at Eduplana, an organisation that focuses on training in Nigeria, informed Africa Examine.

“The 2018 nationwide personnel audit report has been pulled down on account of quite a few errors. I counsel that the declare be discarded and the report not used,” Ogunwale stated.

For correct knowledge, he directed Africa Examine to statistics on private and non-private primary training compiled in 2018 by, amongst others, the essential training fee, the training ministry and the Nationwide Bureau of Statistics.

Precise ratio about half that claimed by World Financial institution

The statistics from the digest of primary training statistics on private and non-private faculties present that as of 2018, there have been 61,175 main faculties and 14,491 secondary faculties in the north

This works out to about 4 main faculties for each secondary faculty in Nigeria. When solely public faculties within the north are thought-about, the ratio rises to about 5 main faculties (43,480) for each secondary faculty (7,819).  

That is about half the financial institution’s estimate. The northern state with probably the most main faculties for each secondary faculty is Kebbi, with a ratio of eight to 1. If solely public faculties in Kebbi are counted, the ratio is 5 to 1.

The financial institution’s declare would have been correct 10 years in the past.  In 2010 there have been a median of seven main faculties to each secondary faculty within the north. Kaduna state had 10 main faculties to each secondary faculty.

Suleiman Bello, a professor of instructional expertise within the school of training on the College of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria, stated for a few years the precedence within the north was educating kids to learn and write, which had overshadowed the necessity to set up secondary faculties. 

However he informed Africa Examine this was beginning to change, as extra states had been increasing present secondary faculties or constructing  new ones. 

The case for educating adolescent ladies

Whereas making a case for educating extra adolescent ladies, the World Financial institution notes that poor infrastructure and a scarcity of water and sanitation makes it tough for women to remain in class. Additional, there’s decrease funding in ladies training within the northern states.

The event lender initiatives that if these circumstances keep the identical, “1.3 million ladies out of the 1.85 million who started main faculty in 2017/18 within the northern states will drop out earlier than reaching the final yr of junior secondary faculty”.

The financial institution means that educating ladies, particularly on the secondary stage, considerably improves their lives. This consists of by “a discount in youngster and maternal mortality charges, enhancements in instructional outcomes of offspring, and lowering poverty and selling equitable progress”.

Every extra yr of secondary faculty is related to, “on common a ten% improve in earnings”, it provides.


Near 80% of poor households are within the north.



The World Financial institution informed Africa Examine it had meant to say that 87%, and never 80%, of poor households are within the north. 

The 87% estimate was based mostly on “the 2015/16 common family survey by the Nationwide Bureau of Statistics”, senior exterior affairs officer Mansir Nasir stated. (Word: We couldn’t discover this estimate within the survey.)

Whereas the family survey did seize family earnings and different socioeconomic indicators, there’s more moderen knowledge. Leo Sanni, a statistician on the bureau, referred Africa Examine to the 2019 report on poverty and inequality in Nigeria. 

Launched in Could 2020, it measured poverty and residing requirements by surveying 22,110 households nationally from September 2018 to October 2019.

It discovered that 40.1% of Nigerians certified as poor, which meant that when inflation was accounted for, they’d a per capita spending of lower than N137,430 (US$356.31) per yr.

This meant that greater than 82.9 million Nigerians “are thought-about poor by nationwide requirements”, the report stated. (Word: Because of the Boko Haram insurgency, this quantity excludes Borno state, as solely households in safe-to-visit areas had been interviewed).

Excessive poverty numbers within the north

The information reveals northern states have the best share of their populations residing in poverty. The ten states with the smallest proportions had been all within the south.

But it surely doesn’t break down the data by households. 

Dr Baba Madu is head of nationwide accounts and macro-economic evaluation on the statistics bureau. He stated the newest knowledge doesn’t converse to the financial institution’s declare. 

“No, there isn’t any dataset within the poverty report that implies that nearly 80% of households thought-about poor, out of the 22,110 sampled, had been discovered within the north,” he informed Africa Examine.

As we couldn’t hint the supply of the financial institution’s statistic, we fee the declare as unproven.

Extra studying:

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Kenya’s ex-prime minister Odinga mangles his numbers on authorities income share in Nigeria


Three claims about how income is shared between Nigeria’s three ranges of presidency.

Supply: Kenya’s former prime minister Raila Odinga (August 2020)



One appropriate, two incorrect

  • Since 2004 Nigeria’s income sharing system has given 52.68% to the federal authorities, 26.72% to states and 20.60% to native governments. 
  • Odinga was appropriate about native governments’ share, however vast of the mark for the opposite two authorities ranges.
  • And consultants query his declare that Nigeria’s system “works completely effectively”.  

After months of an typically fractious stalemate, in September 2020 Kenya’s senate hammered out a deal on how income could be shared  between the nation’s two ranges of presidency.

In August, on the top of the impasse, former prime minister Odinga returned to a well-known speaking level to argue for establishing a 3rd tier of presidency.

Constructing on this in an interview with Citizen TV, Odinga, who can be an African Union envoy, stated Kenya may resolve the recurring battle over tips on how to share income if it regarded to Nigeria for classes.

Nigeria, he stated, had a neighborhood, state and federal system of presidency. “When it comes to income share, 20% of the income goes to the native, 35% goes to the state and 45% goes to the federal governments … and it really works completely effectively,” Odinga stated

We checked if he was on the mark about how income is shared in Africa’s largest economic system.


In Nigeria … when it comes to income share, 20% goes to the native authorities.



We requested Dennis Onyango, Odinga’s spokesperson, for the supply of the previous chief’s claims. We are going to replace this report along with his response.

In keeping with its structure, Nigeria has a federal capital authority, 36 states and 768 native authorities authorities. There are additionally six space councils.   

The Income Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Fee proposes a system for a way income is to be shared between the three ranges. That is then accredited by the nationwide meeting.

The income system was first utilized in 1982 when the Nigeria Income Allocation Act got here into impact. The legislation stipulated that 56% of funds would go to the federal authorities, 24% to states and 20% to native governments.

The present system will be traced to a March 2004 round from the finance ministry. It has remained at these ranges since.

“The income allocation system remains to be 52.68%, 26.72% and 20.6%,” Prof Sherifdeen Tella, professor of economics at Olabisi Onabanjo College informed Africa Examine.

Earlier than the income is cut up an quantity “not lower than 13%” is deducted and shared among the many oil producing states based mostly on their manufacturing ranges.

In accordance with information from Nigeria’s extractive industries transparency initiative, a authorities company supervised by the president’s workplace, native governments get 20.6% of nationwide income. 

We due to this fact fee Odinga as appropriate on this declare.

Latest native authorities allocations at 20%

The latest full 12 months information from the funds workplace exhibits that in 2019, native governments acquired N1.04 trillion of the N5.05 trillion accessible for sharing among the many three ranges of presidency.  

And within the first quarter of 2020, native governments acquired N441.44 billion of the N2.14 trillion accessible. 

Each these quantities work out to about 20% for native governments. (Word: Worth-added tax is additionally shared among the many three ranges of presidency, utilizing a distinct system. Native governments get 35% of VAT income, state governments 50% and the federal authorities 15%.)


35% of income goes to states.



Knowledge from Nigeria’s extractive industries transparency initiative exhibits that 26.72% is reserved for the state governments, not the 35% Odinga claimed. 

We due to this fact fee this declare as incorrect. 

In 2019, of the N5.05 trillion accessible for sharing, states acquired N1.35 trillion. Within the first quarter of 2020, states acquired N572.59 billion of the N2.14 trillion accessible.  

Each these allocations work out to 26.72%, in line with the system.


45% of income goes to the federal governments.



Odinga’s declare of 45% will not be correct. Official information exhibits the federal authorities will get greater than half of the entire income. 

In 2019, information from the funds workplace exhibits the federal authorities acquired N2.66 trillion of the N5.05 trillion accessible for sharing. Within the first quarter of 2020 it acquired N1.13 trillion out of N2.14 trillion.  

These quantities tally with the 52.68% set out within the sharing system. 

Does Nigeria’s income sharing mannequin work ‘completely effectively’?

Raila Odinga’s assertion that the Nigerian income sharing system “works completely” is contested. 

Gazie Okpara, a professor of selling at Abia State College in southeast Nigeria whose pursuits embody social coverage, stated the system was imperfect as a result of how the funds have been spent was not clear. 

“Every degree of presidency ought to at all times give an account of how funds have been spent,” he stated, an audit that ought to be offered for within the structure.

Prof Sherifdeen Tella, a professor of economics at Olabisi Onabanjo College in southwestern Nigeria, informed Africa Examine that in his view, allocations to state and native governments, and particularly the previous, ought to be elevated. “What’s allotted to those two tiers of presidency will not be ample.” 

Matthew Akintayo is a professor on the College of Ibadan, additionally in southwestern Nigeria. One in every of his focus areas is the economics of training. He informed Africa Examine that the sharing system ought to be restructured.

“A bulk or huge fraction of sources ought to be allotted to the state and native authorities as a result of each arms of presidency are nearer to the grassroots,” he stated. He added that state governors ought to be given extra leeway to handle their sources. 

John Kinuthia, a senior programme officer on the Worldwide Finances Partnership, informed Africa Examine that Odinga also needs to have thought of the character of devolved features when drawing comparisons. 

It was troublesome to match Kenyan counties with Nigerian states, partly as a result of they’d totally different features, Kinuthia stated. He gave the instance of training.

“In Nigeria there are features like training which are devolved, which is why you see an even bigger proportion of sources on the subnational degree in comparison with Kenya. In Kenya, training remains to be on the nationwide degree.”

© Copyright Africa Examine 2020. Learn our republishing tips. Chances are you’ll reproduce this piece or content material from it for the aim of reporting and/or discussing information and present occasions. That is topic to: Crediting Africa Examine within the byline, conserving all hyperlinks to the sources used and including this sentence on the finish of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Examine, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the unique piece on their web site”, with a hyperlink again to this web page.

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Factchecking Kenya’s chief justice on judiciary funding and backlog of circumstances

To mark the tenth anniversary of Kenya’s structure, broadcaster NTV interviewed present and former authorities officers on how the regulation has been utilized.

Chief justice David Maraga instructed NTV that whereas the 2010 structure had sought to strengthen the judiciary’s independence, funding was a perennial headache.

“[Budget cuts] hit the judiciary generally to some extent that its operations grind to a halt,” Maraga stated within the interview, printed in August 2020.

In current months the chief justice has been vocal on how cuts have hampered the supply of judicial companies.

In his interview, Maraga made a number of claims. We regarded into their accuracy. 


The judiciary doesn’t even get 1% of the nationwide price range



Maraga, who assumed workplace in 2016, requested for extra funding as “the judiciary doesn’t even get 1% of the nationwide price range”.

“We have now stated, time and again, that for the judiciary to function correctly we must always get no less than 2.5% of the nationwide price range,” he stated.

Africa Test has beforehand discovered there isn’t a “advisable world share” of funding for the judiciary from the nationwide price range. In 2018 Maraga additionally claimed it was 2.5%. 

To find out how a lot has been allotted to the judiciary lately we consulted the appropriation acts, the legal guidelines that present price range allocations to authorities departments.  

For the nationwide price range, we checked price range statements.

Judiciary quantities as share of Kenya price range
Yr Judiciary price range (KSh billion) Nationwide price range (KSh trillion) Share
2014/15 17.5 1.58 1.1%
2015/16 16.7 2 0.8%
2016/17 17.3 2.3 0.8%
2017/18 17.6 2.3 0.8%
2018/19 14.5 2.6 0.6%
2019/20 18.9 2.8 0.7%
2020/21 17.4 2.8 0.6%

Sources: Funds speeches for 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014  and Appropriations Acts for 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.
Observe: The figures proven have been rounded up.

Solely as soon as within the final seven monetary years, in 2014/15, did the judiciary obtain greater than 1% of the nationwide price range. We due to this fact charge this declare as appropriate.


We have now a median of 400,000 circumstances being filed in our courts yearly



The latest state of the judiciary report covers the 2018/19 monetary 12 months. Launched in January 2020, it reveals that greater than two million circumstances had been lodged in all courts between 2014/15 and 2018/19.

The report stated: “The variety of filed circumstances gives quantitative data on the extent of demand for courtroom companies by the general public.”

Complete variety of circumstances filed within the judiciary
Monetary 12 months Instances
2014/15 334,685
2015/16 460,961
2016/17 344,180
2017/18 402,243
2018/19 484,349
Common 405,283

The typical variety of circumstances filed within the interval lined by the report works out to 405,283 a 12 months. We due to this fact charge this declare as appropriate. 


We solely get rid of about 300,000 circumstances



Discussing the nation’s case backlog, Maraga stated the judiciary settles about 300,000 circumstances yearly. This quantity was decided by the variety of judges and magistrates and would solely proceed to pile up.

“Until the judiciary is given sufficient assets to have sufficient manpower, Kenyans will proceed crying about delayed circumstances,” he stated.

The latest state of the judiciary report has information protecting 2014/15 to 2018/19. It reveals an common of 321,652 circumstances settled throughout the 5 monetary years. As of 2018/19 there have been 153 judges and 546 magistrates in Kenya.

Variety of circumstances resolved by the judiciary
Monetary 12 months Instances
2014/15 272,605
2015/16 191,625
2016/17 304,182
2017/18 370,488
2018/19 469,359
Common 321,652

We due to this fact charge the declare as appropriate.


In Kenya now with a inhabitants of about 48 million, now we have one choose serving over 300,000 folks



There are 47.6 million folks in Kenya, in response to 2019 census information. The latest information from the judiciary reveals there have been 153 judges as of June 2019.

This works out to 1 choose for each 311,000 folks. We charge this declare as appropriate.


We have now one Justice of the Peace serving over 77,000 folks



The latest information from the judiciary reveals there have been 546 magistrates in Kenya as of June 2019. The state of the judiciary report was launched in January 2020. 

Utilizing a inhabitants of 47.6 million, this works out to 1 Justice of the Peace for each 87,114 folks.

The chief justice’s determine was off by over 10,000 nevertheless it was nonetheless “over 77,000” folks per Justice of the Peace. We due to this fact charge it as understated.


There’s a ‘world common’ for the variety of judges and magistrates to variety of folks



A calculation for a “world common” will be achieved by immediately evaluating the variety of judges and magistrates to the world inhabitants.

However to account for inhabitants variations, charges (per 100,000 folks) are extensively used. (Observe: See field beneath for extra context.)

The chief justice has previously spoken of a “advisable world share” of funding for the judiciary. 

We have now contacted the judiciary for the supply of the “world common” cited by the chief justice and can replace this report with their response.

Wachira Maina is a constitutional lawyer in Kenya who has written in regards to the progress of establishments, together with the judiciary, following the adoption of the 2010 structure. He directed us to the UN Workplace of Drug and Crime (UNODC) for information on the administration of justice professionals towards a rustic’s inhabitants.

It reveals there have been 1.3 judges or magistrates for each 100,000 folks in Kenya in 2014, 3.6 for South Africa in 2015, and 0.8 for the US and eight.7 for China in 2017. 

However the UNODC famous key weaknesses within the information when evaluating international locations. 

“The numbers reported are usually not restricted to judges deciding felony circumstances,” it stated. “The comparability downside would possibly get even worse as a result of some international locations would possibly nonetheless solely report the variety of judges whose obligation is the judgment of felony circumstances.

“Other than this, it’s not clear whether or not actually all judges are included within the reported figures in all international locations.”

With out a supply for the chief justice’s declare of a world common, we will solely charge this closing declare as unproven.

Is calculating the ratio of judges and magistrates to the inhabitants helpful?

The ratio of judges and magistrates to the inhabitants is helpful relying on what you’re utilizing it to point out, Wachira Maina, a constitutional lawyer in Kenya instructed Africa Test.

He gave an instance of utilizing the ratio of the variety of medical doctors to the inhabitants as a metric for entry to well being, and of cops to measure entry to safety companies.

Nevertheless, he stated, ratio information leaves loads unspoken, such because the distribution by area and by city and rural areas. Due to this fact “to find out entry to companies, you’ll nearly definitely want further data”.

“A excessive ratio by itself doesn’t show that most individuals have entry to companies, merely that if companies had been equitably distributed, they usually not often are, extra folks would have entry,” Maina stated.

“Be mindful although that you simply can’t improve entry until you’ve gotten the numbers, so the ratio does nonetheless say one thing helpful.”

Chris Kerkering is a litigation supervisor at Katiba Institute, an organisation in Nairobi that promotes the data of Kenya’s structure. He instructed Africa Test that inhabitants doesn’t robotically equate to a choose’s caseload.

A really litigious society would have extra circumstances per inhabitants, he stated.

Caseload and caseload weighting, which Kerkering described as not solely counting the variety of circumstances but in addition with the ability to decide how a lot time every respective case would take, could also be one of the best ways to find out whether or not a judiciary has the suitable variety of judges.

However since doing a comparability between totally different international locations with totally different authorized techniques and totally different cultures can be close to unattainable, “judges per inhabitants is an honest combination”, Kerkering stated.

He stated the chief justice’s focus was on entry to justice. “If there are usually not sufficient judges and the employees that help them then they’re unable to supply the companies that the judiciary requires. Case backlogs develop into one of many extra apparent issues. Fewer judges imply that every choose is taking extra circumstances.”

“The extra circumstances a choose has, the extra time it takes to get by them. Entry to justice requires well timed choices. The phrase ‘justice delayed is justice denied,’ is so generally used for a cause. Usually, as a case winds its method by the courtroom system, avoidable delays end in long run hurt.” 

“A judiciary that may’t get by its caseload promptly can’t guarantee entry to justice as required by the structure.”


Carlos Mureithi is a journalist based mostly in Nairobi, Kenya

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As Nigeria turns to gold mining, researcher appropriate about excessive ranges of kid lead poisoning

Nigeria’s flip to gold mining to assist scale back its reliance on oil might have dangerous penalties, a researcher has claimed.

In June 2020 Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari was introduced with gold bars produced by the federal government’s small-scale gold mining growth programme. 

The mission is a part of efforts to carry small- scale miners into the economic system. The federal government estimates this might create greater than 250,000 jobs and earn it greater than US$500 million in income yearly, whereas lowering unlawful mining and smuggling.

However in a nationwide newspaper Tosin Abdulsalam, an environmental researcher based mostly at Friedrich Schiller College in Germany, savaged the plan saying it posed severe well being and environmental hazards.

“Digging out such metals clearly will let loose many different dangerous metals which might be hazardous to us people, to animals, crops and your entire ecosystem,” he stated, likening it to the dangerous results of oil spills within the nation’s Niger Delta area.  

 Within the article titled Nigeria digging for gold with no lesson learnt, Abdulsalam cited a significant lead poisoning incident within the northwestern state of Zamfara in 2010, which he linked to the mining of gold. 

Reviews as latest as 2017 reported 92% prevalence of blood lead poisoning in youngsters from some villages in Zamfara state,” he stated. Is that this startling declare about such excessive poisoning ranges within the state appropriate?

Examine supplied as proof backs up declare

Abdulsalam directed us to a 2013 examine of 307 youngsters beneath age six because the probably supply of his declare. He stated he might have mistaken this as being in 2017.

The examine centered on a village within the Kawaye space of Anka native council in Zamfara. It recruited the kids by random sampling to cut back bias. The researchers, who included the Ahmadu Bello College and the nationwide and state well being ministries,  discovered a 92.5% prevalence of lead poisoning, the identical proportion as Abdulsalam’s declare. (Notice: Prevalence refers to the share of a inhabitants with an sickness or situation at a specified time.) 

The examine based mostly its definition of childhood lead poisoning on US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) tips, which give this as blood lead ranges of 5 micrograms per deciliter or extra. 

Some 34 of the kids had elevated blood lead ranges of as much as 45 micrograms per deciliter.

Different research present very excessive lead ranges

Different research additionally present excessive youngster lead poisoning ranges within the state. In 2010, a lethal lead poisoning outbreak was reported in some areas of Zamfara. The state holds lots of the gold mining leases in Nigeria.

In two of probably the most affected villages, 25% of kids below age 5 had died prior to now 12 months. One of many first research into the outbreak, accomplished in mid-2010, discovered that as many as  eight in 10 of them had convulsions earlier than loss of life.

At excessive blood lead ranges, lead could cause convulsions, coma and deaths, famous the examine, which was supported by the nation’s well being ministry and concerned worldwide organisations such because the WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières

The researchers examined 204 youngsters beneath age 5 within the two villages. All had lead ranges greater or equal to 10 micrograms per decilitre, with 97% of them having ranges greater or equal to 45 micrograms per decilitre. 

An quantity of greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter in youngsters is the reference degree at which the CDC recommends beginning public well being motion, in accordance with 2018 tips.

Lead poisoning linked to unsafe gold mining

The examine finally recognized 131 villages of curiosity within the state by a chain-referral strategy. It visited 74, taking blood and soil samples from 70.

Nearly all of the villages – 50 – had both childhood lead poisoning, lead contamination or each. The researchers stated resulting from time constraints, they may not pattern all villages of curiosity. They have been additionally solely in a position to survey 5 youngsters in every village, which they stated advised they could have underestimated the extent. 

The researchers additionally discovered two-thirds of households surveyed processed gold ore inside their household compounds, with actions like breaking, drying, separating and washing ore related to the deaths. Nearly all of gold mining actions within the state had began within the previous 12 months.

The outbreak was finally linked to unsafe gold mining by artisanal and small-scale miners. 

One other examine accomplished in 2010 within the state additionally linked gold ore processing to the lead poisoning outbreak.

How gold mining could cause lead poisoning  

Gold shouldn’t be discovered alone and normally happens with quite a lot of different minerals, comparable to lead, zinc and copper, Silas Dada, professor of geology on the Al-Hikmah College in Ilorin state, Nigeria, instructed Africa Examine.
Poisoning can occur on the mining web site the place rocks are dug up after which damaged down to seek out gold particles. Within the course of different related minerals, together with lead, are discarded.
“The lead contaminates the soil and could be absorbed by crops that people finally eat. However extra severe lead publicity occurs with the contamination of consuming water and the bottom the place youngsters play.”
Youngsters below 5 are most prone as they’re extra prone to inhale mud or ingest sand from a contaminated setting. Excessive publicity to steer causes acute symptomatic poisoning.

That is “characterised by colic, anaemia, and melancholy of the central nervous system which will end in coma, convulsions and loss of life,” in accordance with the World Well being Group, or WHO.

Lead needs to be fully prevented as a result of it’s harmful even at its lowest ranges, particularly for kids and the aged, Prof Francis Udoh, a specialist in biochemical pharmacology and toxicology on the College of Calabar in southern Nigeria, instructed Africa Examine.

Irrespective of how little, lead impacts the physique adversely. It turns into deadly at excessive ranges,” Udoh stated.

The WHO withdrew guideline worth

In 2010, the WHO printed a doc on childhood lead poisoning. This listed main sources of publicity as petrol and industrial actions, comparable to mining and lead-based paints.

“Blood lead ranges that have been thought-about beforehand to be protected are actually understood to compromise well being and injure a number of organs, even within the absence of overt signs,” the WHO stated.

Even at low ranges of 10 micrograms per deciliter or much less, the immune, reproductive and cardiovascular methods of individuals are compromised by lead poisoning. In June 2010, a guideline worth of an consumption of 1 microgram per deciliter for lead was withdrawn after consultants from the WHO and the Meals and Agriculture Group of the United Nations discovered it insufficient to guard in opposition to diminished intelligence. 

Prof Udoh, the pharmacology and toxicology skilled from the College of Calabar, agreed that based mostly on this revised normal, the lead ranges discovered within the blood of all the kids examined throughout the 2010 examine have been dangerous.

Dada of Al-Hikmah College stated that earlier than the federal government’s new gold rush, it wanted to make sure miners strictly observe security requirements.

Others have urged that as a result of mining supplies an vital revenue, protected mining areas are recognized and public well being messages shared with communities .

Conclusion: Obtainable proof reveals excessive ranges of kid lead poisoning in Zamfara state

To spotlight the hazards of gold mining, an environmental researcher claimed that some villages within the northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara had recorded a lead poisoning prevalence of as excessive as 92% amongst youngsters.

Nigeria is trying to ramp up gold mining to diversify its economic system from gold, however  Friedrich Schiller College environmental researcher Tosin Abdulsalam argued it had a poor environmental document when extracting minerals.

Obtainable research accomplished on the state present persistently excessive lead poisoning amongst youngsters within the state, which have been linked to unsafe mining.

Specialists say it is vital that designated mining areas are recognized and security requirements noticed as communities are more and more reliant on the valuable metallic.

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Is Nigeria ‘officially broke’? Why prominent economist’s warning needs a larger view

“Our government is broke. And it’s official.” This was the alarming opening of Dr Obadiah Mailafia’s regular “Scenarios” column in Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper for 22 June 2020. 

Titled “When government goes for broke”, the column was republished in other dailies and made a fascinating read as the former Central Bank of Nigeria deputy governor added his voice to a growing debate on debt in Africa’s largest economy.  

Mailafia is an economist who ran for president in 2019, coming fourth. He gave debt and revenue figures for the first three months of 2020 as evidence for his claim.

We fact-checked these numbers, as well as two key claims in the article. 


‘Our government is broke.’



Mailafia said the country’s finance minister had “revealed” that in the first quarter of 2020 –  January to March – 99% of the Nigerian government’s revenue went to repaying debt.

(Note: In May 2020 Nigeria’s cabinet approved a reduced budget tabled by finance minister Zainab Ahmed.)

But is this enough to say the government is broke? Mailafia told Africa Check he meant that the Nigerian government was “getting close to being broke”. 

“That is why I said ‘goes for broke’ in the headline. One cannot say a country is completely broke. The government can sell land, print money or borrow, which is what our government is doing now.” 

Mailafia said his claim was based on figures from Nigeria’s budget office, which helps plan the country’s finances. (Note: The revised figures can be found here.)

The cheque is in the mail

A straight comparison of debt to income is not enough to declare a country bankrupt, experts told Africa Check.

“You cannot make such a conclusion using revenue and debt servicing figures for one quarter,” said Olusegun Ajibola, professor of monetary economics at Caleb University in Lagos. 

“Government revenue accrues over time and so revenue recorded for the first quarter of 2020 may be from the last quarter” of 2019, he said.  

His gist was that a government’s revenue in a particular quarter is not always from transactions in that quarter – it could be payment of a bill issued months before. For example, oil sold this month might be paid for months later.

Ajibola said this was the same for debt repayment. “The debt paid in the first quarter may have fallen due in the previous quarter. You must also consider the debt components being serviced, whether principal or interest.

“Before one can consider a government to be broke, you must consider data from two, three or more quarters.”

Foreign reserves and remittances also count

To get a bigger picture, assets such as foreign reserves should also be considered, Ajibola said. The reserves include foreign currency and treasury bonds. As of 4 August, they were valued at US$35.8 billion.

Foreign remittances also count, the economist said. The most recent data, for January and February, shows that Nigerians living abroad sent $3.1 billion home. In 2019 it was $19.2 billion. These amounts add up to trillions of naira.  (Note: The exchange rate in June, when Mailafia made his claim, was N360 to the dollar).

Matthew Odedokun, economics professor at Kwara State University, Ilorin in north-central Nigeria, agreed that foreign reserves were important in assessing a country’s ability to repay debt.  

The debt burden in relation to the gross domestic product and export earnings should also be considered, Odedokun said. (Note: GDP is the size of a country’s economy and market value of all goods and services produced in a country in a given period, usually a year.)

We therefore rate Mailafia’s claim as misleading.

Nigeria’s economy ‘in a difficult situation’

That being said, there is little doubt that the country’s economy is in a tough phase at the moment, Shehu Aliyu, professor of financial economics at northern Nigeria’s Bayero University, Kano, told Africa Check.

Traffic gridlock in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo: AFP PIUS UTOMI EKPEI)

“Nigeria has been affected mainly because of the impact of Covid-19 on the global oil market. But that is picking up gradually, so the current difficult economic situation will not last long.”

Oil and gas account for 10% of Nigeria’s GDP, but half of government revenue and 90% of export earnings. In 2019, the government took in only half of the revenue it predicted it would earn from oil and gas. 

The government has also described its finances as being “critically constrained”.

Beyond Covid-19’s impact on oil, Nigeria’s economic woes have been caused by other internal factors, said Sarah Anyanwu, an economics professor at the University of Abuja.

Unhealthy dependence on oil and gas

“The impact of Covid-19 is global so the Nigerian government can’t be blamed for that,” Anyanwu said. “But factors like corruption, insecurity and reliance on oil for foreign exchange need to be addressed.”

Anyanwu added that the threat of violence in some parts of the country was reducing farmers’ productivity. Agriculture is an important part of the economy. In a rare interview in July, president Muhammadu Buhari described insecurity in the country’s north as “very, very disturbing”.

Caleb University’s Ajibola agreed that Nigeria needed to diversify its economy to reduce its dependence on oil.


During the first quarter, revenues stood at N950 billion.



We traced this figure to the budget office’s projections for 2020 to 2022, published in April 2020.

Nigeria’s constitution says revenue must be shared among its three levels of government:  federal, state and local. 

The government earned N2.2 trillion in the first quarter of 2020. This was N1.38 trillion in oil revenue and N825.37 billion from non-oil taxes, such as income, value added tax and custom revenues. 

This was before deductions, mainly a 13% deduction from oil revenue for states that produce crude.

After deductions, N1.385 trillion from the main pool of the federation account was shared among the three levels of government. This was according to the sharing formula of 52.68% for the federal government, 26.72% for states and 20.60% for local governments. The federal government got N729.89 billion, states N370.08 billion and local governments N285.32 billion.

Additionally, N296.78 billion from the VAT pool account was shared using a different formula: 15% for the federal government, 50% for states and 35% for local governments.

This means in the first quarter of 2020 the centre got N774.41 billion, states N518.47 billion and local governments N389.19 billion. When independent revenue such as funds generated by its agencies and enterprises are added, the federal government’s revenue in the quarter came to N950.56 billion.

This is the figure Mailafia referred to. But Nigeria’s entire revenue that quarter was in fact N2.2 trillion. If he had said federal revenues stood at N950 billion, he would have been on surer footing. We therefore rate the claim as incorrect.


Debt servicing obligations stood at N943.12 billion.



Mailafia described this amount as “staggering”. The figure he used in the article checks out with budget office data. 

This shows that at the end of March 2020, the federal government had spent N2.37 trillion. Of this, N943.12 billion – the figure quoted by Mailafia – went to repaying debt.

Other costs included N820.1 billion for salaries and pensions, and N139.70 billion for capital projects such as building roads, railways and houses.

As of May 2020, federal government spending had risen to N3.98 trillion – N1.58 trillion of it for debt repayments.


99% of revenue is being committed to debt servicing alone.



Mailafia was also close with the share of central government revenue used for repaying federal debt in the first quarter of 2020. 

The N943.12 billion spent on servicing debt was 99.2% of the N950.56 billion retained by the federal government. 

Mailafia told Africa Check his point was that “it is a bad situation when your debt servicing obligation is almost equal to your revenue”.

Nigeria’s government has said it will borrow to finance about half of its revised 2020 budget of N10.52 trillion. Of the total approved budget, N1.96 trillion will go to capital projects in 2020 while recurrent expenditure will account for the balance of N7.59 trillion.

The Nigerian government has recently said that while its debt to revenue ratio is high, the country’s debt to GDP ratio is within the limit of 25% as stipulated by its national debt management framework of 2018 to 2022. 

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Weighing Nigeria’s sickle cell burden: is it the world’s highest?

Nigerians living with sickle cell disease face stigma as the illness is poorly understood, a TV station in the country reported on World Sickle Cell Day on 19 June.

Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affect or make sick the red blood cells in the blood stream, leading to pain and other serious health problems. It is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes—one from each parent.

But the disease is not a death sentence, said TVC News. The station was reporting on local groups marking international awareness days dedicated to the disease and to blood donation in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state in the south of the country.

To show the national burden of sickle cell disease, the news report made three claims we looked at. 

Africa Check has asked the station for its evidence for the claims and will update this report when we receive a response.


‘Nigeria currently has the highest burden worldwide of sickle cell disease.’



Organisations such as the country’s Sickle Cell Awareness and Health Foundation are urging the government to reduce this statistic, TVC News said. The foundation also called for affordable blood testing centres. 

The “burden of disease” is a measure of how a disease or other health problem affects a population, according to the World Health Organization or WHO. This can include death or the loss of health. It is useful for making policy. (Note: For more on how it is measured read here.)

The disease burden is comparable across regions because it considers several factors such as the number of deaths, incidence, prevalence and life expectancy. Prof Tanimola Akande, of the epidemiology and community health unit of the University of Ilorin in western Nigeria, explained this to Africa Check.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, at the University of Washington in the US, publishes data on the global burden of disease. To do this, it works with the WHO.

Its most recent data from 2017 shows Nigeria has the highest number of people with sickle cell disease and those who die from its complications.

Effect of disease in numbers

What does this look like in numbers? A measure called the Disability Adjusted Life Year, or DALY, is used. This is calculated by adding the number of years a person loses by dying prematurely from a disease, and the years lost due to living with disabilities linked to the disease.

One DALY represents the loss of a full year lived healthily and it is expressed per 100,000 of a population.

For sickle cell disorders, Nigeria had an average of 643,374 disability-adjusted life years per 100,000 people, the highest globally. For deaths it had 7,105 per 100,000, also a global high. 

Incidence of sickle cell trait among Africans

The country’s population size and the incidence of the sickle cell gene and the resulting sickle cell disease play a significant role in its burden, Collins Boakye-Agyemang from the WHO’s communications team told Africa Check.  

He directed us to a 2010 report that showed sickle cell disease is the most prevalent genetic disease in Africa, with between 10 and 40% of the population carrying the gene. An estimated 2% on the continent had the disease.

While national estimates were “challenging because of the lack of federal newborn screening programmes”, it was estimated that every year, at least 150,000 newborns in Nigeria had sickle-cell disease. There are about 7 million births in Nigeria annually.

 Although limited data was available, Boakye-Agyeman said one newborn screening programme in Africa showed that the prevalence of the disease in newborns was 3%. 


‘Nigeria bears 50% of the global sickle cell burden.’



The claim that Nigeria accounts for 50% of the global sickle cell burden is incorrect, Prof Isaac Odame told Africa Check. He is the director of the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network, a community of clinicians and scientists who study the disease globally, and the Alexandra Yeo Chair in Hematology at the University of Toronto, Canada.

“No, Nigeria bears 30% of the global sickle cell burden,” said Odame.

Even if only the number of newborns with sickle cell anaemia were considered, Nigeria still wouldn’t have half the global burden.

He referred us to research on the global burden of sickle cell in children under age five which estimated that in 2010, Nigeria, India, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo represented 57% of the annual number of newborns with sickle cell anaemia. 

According to the study published in 2013, these countries will account for 55% of the total by 2050, with Nigeria’s share projected to increase from 30% to 35%. 


‘For every two babies born with sickle cell in the world, one is a Nigerian.’



This claim is incorrect, Prof Isaac Odame from the University of Toronto, Canada, told Africa Check. 

“No, one in every three babies born with sickle cell in the world is a Nigerian,” Odame said. He is also a physician in the division of haematology and oncology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

Dr Prebo Barango, the head of the WHO’s intercountry support team for East and Southern Africa, also said the claim is off the mark.

But the country still has a high number of deaths in children from the disease, Barango said. 

He identified late diagnosis and immunisation gaps, for example against pneumonia and meningitis, as some reasons for this.

“They are more prone to have adverse outcomes of not being immunised.”  

Collins Boakye-Agyemang from the WHO also told Africa Check the claim is incorrect.

In Africa, deaths from complications of the disease occur mostly in children under five, adolescents and pregnant women, he said. Less than half of affected children reach their fifth birthday, with childhood mortality being between 50 and 80%.  

In 2010 African countries approved a regional strategy against the disease but many are struggling to follow through on it informing the persistently high burden on the continent, Boakye-Agyemang said.

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Fact-checking Buhari’s Democracy Day claims about his economic achievements

In his Democracy Day address on 12 June 2020, president Muhammadu Buhari sought to highlight his achievements since his previous speech.

“In my 2019 address, I promised to frontally address the nation’s daunting challenges, especially insecurity, economy and corruption,” said Buhari. “I, therefore, find it necessary to give an account of my stewardship on this day.” 

We looked at seven claims he made in his speech. (Note: We have contacted the presidency for evidence in support of these claims and will update our report with their response.)


‘We have witnessed 11 quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession.’



In 2016, the continent’s largest economy battled an economic recession. The country’s gross domestic product, or GDP, shrunk over five quarters, from the first quarter of 2016 to the first of 2017. (Note: All figures are for real GDP, which is inflation-adjusted.)

A recession is when a country posts a negative growth rate over two consecutive quarters, Baba Madu, head of the national accounts division at Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics, told Africa Check.

Following the negative growth, the first sign of recovery was 0.72% GDP growth in the second quarter of 2017. Growth has since been positive, with the most recent official data showing growth of 1.87% between January and March 2020.

This brings the number of quarters with consecutive GDP growth to 12, or 11 “since exiting” recession. 


‘The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.’



These numbers are accurate based on data from the national bureau of statistics. But the president’s figures for 2018 and 2019 are the average of four quarters, which he then compared to a single quarter of 2020. 

Is it correct that this year’s dip was only because of the pandemic? We asked experts.

It is not accurate to attribute the drop entirely to Covid-19, Christopher Ekong, professor of economics at the University of Uyo in southern Nigeria, told Africa Check.

“You can say Covid-19 aggravated it, but the main reason for the drop in GDP growth rate is the drop in oil prices. Our economy is still largely dependent on oil.” There had also been a drop in demand for Nigeria’s oil. Both falls started in the second half of last year. 

Another factor hurting the economy before the pandemic was the fall in regional trade following the closure of the country’s borders, Ekong said. In August 2019 Nigeria closed its land borders with Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon in an attempt to curb smuggling. 

Security crisis in northern Nigeria also contributed

According to development economist Prof Tukur Garba, insecurity in northern Nigeria had also affected agriculture, a major contributor to the economy.

“Covid-19 lockdown is a factor, but the security crisis going on in northern Nigeria is a major reason for the drop in GDP growth rate,” Garba, a lecturer at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University in Sokoto, northwestern Nigeria, told Africa Check.

Attacks by armed groups including Boko Haram has meant that many farmers in northern food-producing states were displaced. “This means reduced farming activities, low productivity and high food prices,” Garba said.      


‘Every single economy in the world has suffered a decline.’



Nigeria’s economic growth declined on a year-on-year basis from 2.55% in the fourth quarter of 2019, to 1.87% in the first three months of 2020. This underpinned Buhari’s claim that the pandemic had seen a decline in growth for “every single economy” in the world, and that Nigeria’s had been “relatively moderate”.  

Did no economy escape a knock? Not exactly. We identified at least two countries that did not decline, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD. 

At least 18 of the 37 OECD countries had positive growth rates in the first quarter of 2020, but only two – Chile and Russia – grew when compared to the last quarter of 2019, the measure considered by Buhari.  

Chile’s GDP growth rate was -2.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 0.5% in the first quarter of 2020. Russia posted 1.5% year-on-year GDP growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 1.8% in the first three months of 2020. 

OECD data does show consistent declines for its member countries, tying in with gloomy forecasts for global economic growth by the International Monetary Fund. Even Chile’s central bank has said it is headed for a sharp decline over 2020.

But at the time Buhari made his claim, data shows he was off the mark for at least two countries.


‘The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on 29 April 2020 to about $36 billion in May 2020 …”



External reserves are also known as foreign exchange reserves, according to Nigeria’s central bank. These include foreign currency and treasury bonds and are particularly useful should the country’s currency rapidly lose value.

Buhari said this rise was between 29 April and “May”, but did not give a specific date for May.

Central bank data shows the country’s gross external reserves were at US$33.42 billion on 29 April. They increased to $33.89 billion on 4 May and to $36.59 billion on 29 May. 

One month too short for analysis

It would appear the president was broadly accurate on this score. But there is a caveat – you cannot use data from one month to determine the state of Nigeria’s external reserves, economics lecturer Prof Sheriffdeen Tella told Africa Check. He teaches at the Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ago-Iwoye, southwestern Nigeria.

“To get a good picture, you look at a minimum of six months or one year. This is because payment for oil sold is often in the future. So a rise in external reserves this month may be due to proceeds of oil sold months back. Focusing on one month may serve a political purpose,” said Tella.

 Longer term data shows the country’s reserves dipped consistently from August 2019 to May 2020, when they started to recover.

External reserves are important as they determine a country’s creditworthiness, ability to import and to stabilise its exchange rate, Tella said.


‘[This amount in reserves] is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.’



Buhari said the $36 billion in external reserves as of May 2020 could finance seven months worth of imports. 

But this assumed that imports for each month would be of the same approximate value, Prof Sheriffdeen Tella of Olabisi Onabanjo University said.

“Imports vary significantly from month to month. So you can’t really say a certain amount can finance future imports.”


‘Our revenue from cocoa and sesame seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.’



Referring to his administration’s efforts at growing non-oil exports, Buhari highlighted increases in two of Nigeria’s biggest agricultural exports: cocoa and sesame seeds. 

The most recent data from the national bureau of statistics shows Nigeria exported N49.1 billion ($160.54 million) worth of sesame seeds in the year to March 2020. (Note: This was at the official rate of $1 dollar to N306. The rate changed to $1 to N360 on 20 March.)

In the year to March 2019, the country had exported sesame seeds worth N39.6 billion ($129.5 million). This works out to a $31 million increase, against the claim of $153 million by the president. 

Over the same period, exports of Nigeria’s various types of cocoa beans were valued at N55.98 billion ($182.94 million) in 2020, against N32.57 billion ($106.4 million) in 2019. The total value of cocoa exports therefore increased by $76.54 million, or about $3 million less than Buhari’s claim.

There has certainly been an increase in the value of the two exports in the past year, but the figures provided by the president do not tally with those published by the statistics agency. In the absence of clarification from his office, we rate this claim as unproven. 


‘Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking, from 146th to 131st.’



Buhari’s administration has been keen to highlight the country’s improved ranking on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index. 

Every year, the bank publishes a report ranking how friendly countries make their economies to investors. The most recent, Doing Business 2020, was published in October 2019. It ranks the economies of 190 of the 193 countries listed as member states of the United Nations. 

Without specifying a time frame, Buhari said Nigeria has moved up 25 spots on the ranking, from 146th to 131st. This is the country’s current ranking.

We went back 10 years on the index. The president’s term in office started in 2015. 

Nigeria’s ranking on ease of doing business index
Year Ranking /Number of countries ranked Score
2015 170/189 47.33
2016 169/189 44.69
2017 169/190 44.63
2018 145/190 52.03
2019 146/190 52.89
2020 131/190 56.9


While Nigeria’s 2020 ranking is a 15-spot jump on the previous year, it is the same ranking it had in 2013, when 185 countries were rated.

The president seemed to be referring to changes in the past year. However, the country moved up 15 places, not 25 as he claimed. We could not find a 25-spot move. We therefore rate the claim incorrect. 


‘[Nigeria] is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.’



Staying with the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking, Buhari said Nigeria is now rated among the top 10 reforming countries.

Of the 10 economies which improved the most across three or more areas measured in 2018/19, Doing Business 2020 ranks Nigeria in 10th place. It said the country had improved the ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting electricity, cross-border trading and enforcing contracts. 

Nigeria first made the top reformer’s list in 2018.

Debate about value of ranking continues

In March 2020, Africa Check asked experts about the index when researching a similar claim about Mauritius. 

Nousrath Bhugeloo is head of international growth at Ocorian, an international financial services firm, based in Mauritius. She said that the ranking is “a signal that a country gives to the outside world about it’s attractiveness for investment”.

“It is key for the financial services sector. It really shows how ready the country is to attract investors or entrepreneurs to come and do business in the country.  It means that the government has more or less the right policies to attract investors,” Bhugeloo said. She has previously written about the investment climate on the continent.

The index has however caused soul-searching within the World Bank. It continues to face criticism over whether it provides real value. 

One of its critics is Prof Gerard McCormack, who teaches at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. In 2018 he wrote a paper titled Why “Doing Business” with the World Bank May Be Bad for You.

He argued that “the (Doing Business) project has a universalist, quasi-imperialist vision in that it puts legal rules and legal systems at the fulcrum of the development equation but a variety of non-legal factors clearly impact on a country’s economic performance”.

McCormack told Africa Check his views have not changed. “The changes in the rankings largely reflect law on the books – certainly in relation to getting credit and resolving insolvency. They do not necessarily reflect what actually happens in practice and there may be large divergence in some cases between formal law and what takes place on the ground.” 

“What the rankings measure are assumptions that a certain formal state of affairs will necessarily bring about economic growth. There is no guarantee that this will be the case”. The debate continues.

Additional reading:

Buhari’s 2018 Democracy Day speech: 7 main claims under scrutiny

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No, Nigeria hasn’t found Covid-19 vaccine yet – but hunt is on

Has Nigeria developed a vaccine against Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus? 

News of this potentially significant development was widely shared on social media in late June 2020. A barrage of local headlines also broadcast it, with some international media joining in.

“Breakthrough As Nigerian Scientists Unveil Covid-19 Vaccine,” said the headline of Nigeria’s Leadership newspaper.

The Guardian went with “Nigerian universities’ scientists discover vaccine for Covid-19”.

There has been some consternation in the country that Africa’s largest economy has been reduced to a bystander in the global search for ways to counter the pandemic.

Have these Nigerian researchers beaten others in the hunt for a vaccine? 

Potential vaccine ‘candidate’, not vaccine, discovered

The story stems from a news conference called on 19 June by a group of scientists based in Nigerian universities. It was widely reported that they said they had discovered a vaccine.

A vaccine is a biological preparation that helps the body’s immune system recognise and fight viruses and bacteria. 

The leader of the research team, Dr Oladipo Kolawole of Adeleke University in Osun state, reportedly said the vaccine, while developed in Africa for Africa, would work anywhere.

While the news headlines played up the discovery of a functional vaccine, the articles themselves suggested it was still work in progress.

We therefore asked Kolawole what exactly his team had done.

“We referred to the news as a potential vaccine candidate, not a vaccine. Those who referred to it as a vaccine chose to do what they wanted to do,” he told us.

Researchers focused on African data

Kolawole, a specialist in medical virology, immunology and bioinformatics, said the group had explored the SARS-CoV-2 genome from African countries to select the best possible vaccine.

SARS-CoV-2, or “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”, is the technical name of the virus that causes Covid-19.

In March 2020, Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control announced that local researchers had sequenced the genome of the coronavirus strain in the country’s first confirmed case. They found it to be a match with the virus circulating in Italy and Wuhan, China, the health agency said, adding that this was the first time the virus had been sequenced in Africa.

Sequencing refers to investigating the genetic make-up of an organism. 

Press conference ‘hasty’ – virology expert

Kolawole was also reported as saying it would take a minimum of 18 months before the vaccine could be unveiled to the public.

He told Africa Check that “[the potential vaccine] has to undergo a lot of test trials before you can conclude finally that it is a vaccine. There are a lot of tests to be conducted in animals, humans, and approval from authorities”. 

Professor of virology and former president of the Nigeria Academy of Science, Oyewale Tomori, told Africa Check that the researchers may have been too hasty in calling the press conference as it could lead to the spread of misinformation. 

“It is not correct to say we have found a vaccine, instead it should be called a candidate vaccine. To say we have found a vaccine means you have already tested it and confirmed that it is good. If you called it a candidate vaccine, that would have been correct,” Tomori said.

Authorities ‘not aware’

Nigeria’s centre for disease control told Africa Check it had not received an official notice of a locally produced vaccine.

“Scientific innovations are best announced through peer reviewed scientific publications in reputable journals, not via unvalidated press releases,” said Chinwe Ochu, the head of prevention programmes and knowledge management at the agency.

“As much as NCDC will be happy to receive health innovations to support the public health response, such products must follow standard scientific protocols for scrutiny and validation to ensure they are effective and safe.” 

The path to a vaccine

What hurdles does a vaccine encounter before it is ready for use? According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are six basic stages in developing a vaccine, from the exploratory and clinical development phases to regulatory approval and manufacturing.

As of 23 June 2020, more than 8.9 million cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed around the world. Over 469,000 people had died from the disease. Nigeria had over 20,000 confirmed cases, while more than 500 people had died since the first case was reported on 27 February.

While there were many potential vaccines being developed, there was no operational vaccine available for Covid-19 yet, according to the World Health Organization

According to a 22 June update by the global health agency, there were 13 different candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation, which is a three-phase process. There were another 129 candidate vaccines across the world in the preclinical evaluation stage. No Nigerian vaccine was listed in the update. 

Conclusion: Still long way for Nigeria in search for Covid-19 vaccine

Several media publications reported in late June 2020 that Nigerian scientists had unveiled a vaccine for the new coronavirus. 

But the researchers said what they had was a potential vaccine candidate, and it would be months before it could be said to be effective. The country’s NCDC also said it has no knowledge yet of a functional vaccine.

If confirmed as a candidate, it would join the ranks of tens of others that are in various phases of development. 

Additional reporting by Motunrayo Joel

Further reading:

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website”, with a link back to this page.

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