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Femi Adesina’s claim 30 million Nigerians were unemployed in 2015 false

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Claim: Femi Adesina claims 30million Nigerians were unemployed in 2015 before Buhari came into power.

The claim is false. Available data shows 17.7 million were unemployed in the first quarter of 2015, not 30 million. 

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The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, claims 30million Nigerians were unemployed in 2015. Mr Adesina made this claim while featuring on Channel TV’s programme Sunday Politics on March 28, 2021.


Our verification started by viewing the 52 minutes 42 seconds clip on Channels Television Tv) YouTube page.

Screenshot of the video on Channels Tv

Mr Adesina said that in 2015, the unemployment figure used for campaign by the All Progressives Congress was 30 million. He said this while reacting to the question on the unemployment rate and his government’s promise to create jobs.

“Buildup of the 2015 election, when APC was campaigning, the figure that was used by the then-candidate Buhari, was that a minimum of 30 million were out of jobs, were unemployed particularly youth and that his government was going to do something about that. As of 2014/2015 the figure used for the campaign was 30 million unemployed Nigerians, it’s on record.”

Excerpt of Adesina’s statement 

Dubawa conducted a keyword search on Nigeria’s unemployment rate in 2015 and this led to some reports.

A report by Macrotrends shows a trend analysis of unemployment in Nigeria from 1991 to 2021. According to this, the unemployment rate for 2015 stood at 4.31%.

Screenshot of Macrotrend graph and table.

Data by Statista show in the first quarter of 2015, the unemployment rate in Nigeria stood at 7.54%, in the second quarter, 8.19%, in the third quarter, 9.9% and in the fourth quarter- 10.44% of the working-age population(age 15-64).

The unemployment rate is calculated as a percentage of the number of unemployed persons in the labour force i.e. Unemployment Rate = 100 × Unemployed Population/ Labor Force Population

Screenshot of Statista graph

A report by ProShare showed that unemployment in the first quarter(Q1) of 2015 rose to 7.5%. According to ProShare, this means that 17.7 million people between ages 15‐65 were either unemployed or underemployed in the labour force.

Screenshot of Proshare’s breakdown of the Economically active population.

In Q1 2015, the labour force population increased to 73.4 million from 72.9million in Q4 2014, representing an increase in the labour force by 0.69%.    This means 504,596 economically active persons within 15‐64 entered the labour force.

Within the same period, the total number in full employment increased by 0.88%, while the number of underemployed declined by 6.46% resulting in a reduction in the underemployment rate to 16.6% (12.2mn) from 17.9% (13.1mn) in Q4 2014.  

The number of unemployed in the labour force, on the other hand, increased by 861,110 persons or 18.43% between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate to 7.5% in Q1 2015 from 6.4% in Q4 2015.  Accordingly, there were a total of 17.7 million people between ages 15‐65 either unemployed or underemployed in the labour force in Q1 2015.

Screenshots of Proshare’s data breakdown.

Dubawa tried finding unemployment statistics through the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the year 2015 but figures for that year were not accessible. The available data was from 2017- 2018.

Screenshot of NBS data on unemployment from 2017-2018


Available statistics show in the first quarter of 2015 which was the last quarter before president Buhari came on board in May, 17.7 million Nigerians were unemployed with the unemployment rate at 7.5%. This makes the claim that 30 million Nigerians were unemployed to be false.

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