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FACT CHECK: Independence Day Speech by President Buhari

Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria 2 mins read

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Last week Tuesday marked Nigeria’s Independence Day, a monumentary landmark in this nation’s history. It signifies the triumphs and progress enjoyed over the years. Nigeria is now 59 years old!

Over the years, this day has been followed by a presidential address. The speech addresses the nation, outlining the importance of the day as well as mentioning key achievements attained.

The second part of the 18th chapter of the President’s Independence Day Speech read, “The exchange rate in the last 3 years has remained stable with robust reserves of US$42.5 billion, up from US$23 billion in October 2016.


CLAIM 1: The exchange rate in the last 3 years has remained stable…

PARTLY TRUE: The exchange rate has been between N305 to N306 on the Inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM). 


Information from CBN shows that foreign exchange rate in the last three years has remained reasonably stable:

  1. In October 2016, the Foreign Exchange rate was N305.21
  2. As at October 2017, the Foreign Exchange Rate was N305.62
  3. In October 2018, the Foreign Exchange rate was N306.50
  4. As at July 2019, the foreign Exchange rate was N306.94 

Additionally, we reviewed the Bureau De Change (Black Market) exchange rate. It revealed that the exchange rate has been between N359 to N362, save October 2016 where the exchange rate was N462.03.

According to Central Bank of Nigeria Bureau De Change rate: 

  1. In October 2016, BDC exchange rate was N462.03
  2. By October 2017, BDC exchange rate was N362.21
  3. As at October 2018, BDC exchange rate was N360.74
  4. In March 2019, BDC exchange rate was N359.24

CLAIM 2: Nigeria has robust Foreign reserves of US$42.5 billion, up from US$23 billion in October 2016.

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE: The Foreign reserves as of September is $42.12 billion and not $42.5 billion, although still close. However, no data could be found for October 2016.


For this, we referred to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria. It revealed that, as of September 25, 2019, the country had US $42.1 billion as gross reserves and US $41.5 billion as liquid reserves. 

In a bid to ascertain verification, we backtracked our search to  2014. As at October 2014, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.3 billion. It subsequently fell to $32.4 billion in January 2015, and stood at $28.6 billion by May 2015. However no data could be seen for October 2016.

9/25/2019 42,107,718,898 41,516,696,725 591,022,173  1.40%
9/24/2019 42,164,759,432 41,573,115,755 591,643,677  1.40%

This fact-check was done by a Dubawa Fact-checking Fellow in collaboration with The Nation, the second-most-read newspaper in Nigeria according to a 2011 report by The Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria.

Justina Asishana is the Niger state correspondent for The Nation Newspaper, Nigeria's foremost nationwide daily and online newspaper. Justina has previously worked at the New Nigerian newspaper and Daily Newswatch newspaper as the Niger state correspondent. She is an upcoming data and investigative journalist who has just discovered how to use data and data related tools for better reporting. She has done some investigative reporting for her media organization, The Nation Newspaper, the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), and the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ). She covers all sectors as a state correspondent. She was recently inducted as a Dubawa Fellow which is a fact checking fellowship to combat misinformation in the state and nation; she is the 2019 ONE Champion in Niger state and was the ICFJ 2018 Safety Fellow. Ms Justina is not afraid to explore new subjects and topics as she is always open and ready to learn new things in the field of journalism. She loves to read, write, explore the internet, travel, network, experiment with data tools and advocate for the rights of the people.

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