How Much Debt Does Oyo State Owe?

CLAIM: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, claimed that the outgoing governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, left N150 billion debt 

CONCLUSION: Based on figures from both DMO and NBS, as of March 31, 2019, Oyo State’s total debt stood at N126 billion; a figure which is less than N150 billion as claimed by Seyi Makinde and higher than the N90 billion claimed by Ajimobi’s former appointees. 


Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, on Saturday, June 29, claimed that he met the sum of one hundred and fifty billion naira (N150bn) debt when he took over from his predecessor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, on May 29 this year.

Governor Makinde made this claim while featuring on a media chat programme to mark thirty (30) days of his government in Ibadan.

The Governor, while answering questions from the panelists at the media chat held at the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), said though his government was still collating the debt profile of the last administration, the sum of one hundred and fifty billion naira (N150bn) had been uncovered in the last 30 days.

“The debt we have discovered is about one hundred and fifty billion naira. If we convert it to dollars, it will be 500 million dollars. I will expose them because some of these debts are questionable. What we are doing is not witch-hunting.

“We have confirmed N150bn debt so far. We are still working to discover more. Some of them may be questionable. If you take bond, it is always tied to a particular project.”

In response to the allegation, the political appointees who served under the immediate-past administration of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Friday, July 19, 2019 claimed that the debt incurred by the state during Ajimobi’s administration was N90 billion, not N150 billion.

The former political appointees, led by a former Commissioner for Education, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, during a press conference with journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, described Makinde’s claim as a false allegation which has been confirmed to be incorrect.

“Not only that, the present administration had also falsely alleged that the state had a debt profile of N150 billion, which has been confirmed to be incorrect.

“The National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) and the Debt Management Office (DMO), put a lie to this. Total Domestic Borrowings at end of the Ajimobi Administration was just over N90bn, of which about 35% constituted Provisions for arrears of Pensions and Gratuities of Civil Servants.”


A check on the websites of the Debt Management Office (DMO), the official institution that coordinates the management of Nigeria’s entire debt, and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the agency that provides official statistics on all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria, reveals that as of March 31, 2019, Oyo State’s domestic debt was N94,140,261,739.96 (N94 billion); while the external debt as of December 31, 2018 was $104,997,383.47 ($104 million), which translates to N32,234,196,725.29 (N32 billion).

[To get the naira value of the external debt, Oyo State’s external debt was multiplied by N307, the official exchange rate of a dollar to naira as at December 31, 2018.]

If the domestic debt of N94 billion is added to the external debt of N32 billion, the result is N126,374,458,465.25 (N126 billion); a figure which is less than the N150 billion Governor Seyi Makinde claimed Senator Abiola Ajimobi left for him in office but higher than the N90 billion Ajimobi’s former appointees claimed he left in the office.


Based on figures from both DMO and NBS, as of March 31, 2019, Oyo State’s total debt stood at N126 billion; a figure which is less than the claim of N150 billion and higher than N90 billion. Because we are unable to confirm if the Oyo State former governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi incurred another domestic or external debt before handing over to governor Seyi Makinde on May 29, 2019, this fact-check will be unrated!

This fact-check was done by a Dubawa Fact-checking Fellow in collaboration with The Tribune Online, the online publication of the oldest surviving newsroom in Nigeria. To see this article and others, check out: https://tribuneonlineng.com/229182/

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