Category: speech

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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