Gold

  • Fact-checking Twitter user’s claims that FG earmarked N380bn to Prosecute Terrorists, Gave ASUU N20bn

    Claim: A Twitter user claims ₦380 billion was earmarked in the 2021 Budget Proposal for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects.

    Claim: He also claimed that ASUU was given ₦20 billion to revitalize 90 public universities in Nigeria.

    Claim: The Twitter user further alleged, all in one tweet, that the gold deposits in Zamfara State belong to the state while the federal government controls the crude oil in the south-south.


    The claim that the federal government earmarked ₦380 billion for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects in the 2021 budget proposal is false.

    The second claim that the federal government gave ASUU ₦20 billion to revitalize public universities is mostly true.

    However, the claim that Zamfara State controls its gold deposits is false.

    Full Text

    On Thursday, November 12, a Twitter user named Adeyinka Oluwadamilare (@aomadrey), claimed that ₦380 billion was earmarked in the 2021 budget proposal for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects.

    Oluwadamilare shared a picture indicating that he got the information from TVC News, a private television station in Lagos.

    The picture has a caption that reads: “Budget Defence: N380 billion projection for prosecution of Boko Haram suspects”.

    Photo credit: Adeyinka Oluwadamilare (Twitter/@aomadrey)

    Without citing any other sources, the Twitter user went ahead to make two other major claims, as he attempts to subtly argue the absurdity of budgeting such a huge amount of money for prosecution.

    He also claimed that the federal government gave the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ₦20 billion to revitalize public universities.

    Lastly, Oluwadamilare alleged that while the federal government controls the crude oil in the south-south, it allows Zamfara State to control its gold deposits, thereby implying an unfair treatment.

    The tweet reads:

    “N380 billion earmarked in the 2021 Budget for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects. We gave ASUU N20billion to revitalize 90 public universities in Nigeria. Psychological test on our ruling elites is key 

    “Zamfara control their gold but FG control crude oil in south south”

    Photo credit: Adeyinka Oluwadamilare (Twitter/@aomadrey)

    Verification

    Claim One: FG Earmarked ₦380 billion for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects in the 2021 Budget Proposal 

    On Thursday, October 8, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2021 Budget Proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly. The proposed expenditure is put at ₦13.08 trillion.

    To verify the claim that ₦380 billion was earmarked for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects, Legit.ng checked relevant documents from the portal of the Budget Office of the Federation.

    Since the budget is about prosecution, the appropriate section to check is that of the Ministry of Justice.

    According to the budget proposal, a sum of N20,277,824,795 (₦20 billion) was allocated to the Ministry of Justice for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure.

    For capital expenditure, the ministry got N5,747,771,298 (₦5.7 billion). Added together, the total amount allocated to the ministry is N26,025,596,093 (N26 billion).

    This means that the total amount earmarked for the Ministry of Justice is not even anywhere near ₦380 billion which was alleged to have been earmarked for just one item: prosecution of Boko Haram suspects.

    Checking the budget’s breakdown, Legit.ng notes some line items that have to do with prosecution. 

    In one of the items, ₦350 million was allocated for “prosecution of prison inmates and decongestion of correctional centres nationwide.”

    Others are prosecution of maritime/offshore offences (₦270 million) and prosecution of offenders/improving assets recovery and monitoring process (₦375 million).

    While none of these items directly specify the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects, a further check by Legit.ng found out that the Ministry of Justice had disclosed the specific amount it earmarked to prosecute Boko Haram suspects while defending the budget before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Legal and Human Rights Matters.

    According to a report by Premium Times, the solicitor-general of the federation, Dayo Apata told the Senate committee that the ministry proposed ₦2 billion to cover its legal services for the 2021 fiscal year.

    The legal services include civil litigation, prison decongestion, trial and prosecution of Boko Haram criminals, administration of the criminal justice system and payment for international legal obligations, Apata disclosed.

    Out of the ₦2 billion, about ₦350 million was budgeted for the trial and prosecution of Boko Haram suspects, according to the solicitor-general. 

    Based on this shred of evidence, the claim that ₦380 billion was earmarked in the 2021 Budget Proposal for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects is false.

    Claim Two: ASUU was given ₦20 billion to revitalize 90 public universities in Nigeria

    In 2013, the Nigerian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ASUU to make available N1.3 trillion for the revitalisation of Nigeria’s public universities.

    It was agreed that the fund would be released in tranches of ₦200 billion in 2013, ₦220 billion 2014, ₦220 billion 2015, ₦220 billion in 2016, ₦220 billion in 2017 and ₦220 billion in 2018.

    While the ₦200 billion was released in 2013 as agreed, the government has failed to honour the agreement to pay the subsequent tranches which has led to several strike actions by ASUU.

    In September 2018, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved ₦20 billion for ASUU to revitalise public universities, a far cry from the ₦220 billion which was supposed to be paid in 2014 and the rest of the years as stipulated in the MoU.

    This was the only payment the federal government has made since the ₦200 billion paid in 2013, according to ASUU president, Biodun Ogunyemi.

    Meanwhile, ASUU is currently on another strike asking the government to pay half of one tranche, ₦110 billion, as part of the revitalisation fund, among other issues.

    The ₦20 billion released in 2018 is probably the one Oluwadamilare, the Twitter user, was referring to in his tweet. 

    Thus, the claim that the federal government, under the Buhari administration, has only released ₦20 billion to the universities is mostly true.

    Claim Three: Gold deposits in Zamfara State belong to Zamfara State while crude oil in the south-south belongs to FG

    This claim has been recurrent on Twitter for a while. It gained more prominence recently when the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, kicked against the recent sale of gold bars by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

    He claimed that the governor has no right to sell the mineral resources that belong to the federal government.

    Omo-Agege said:

    “Not too long ago, we saw the Governor of Zamfara State come before the CBN to present a gold bar worth close to about N5 billion. The gold bar was presented for sale to the CBN. Mr. President, our people are beginning to wonder who owns this gold that is being sold to the CBN.”

    However, an earlier fact-check by Dubawa has found the claim to be false.

    According to the report, the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act (2007) vests the ownership of all minerals, including gold, in the Federal Government, just as the Deputy Senate President noted.

    The Act vests control of all properties and minerals in Nigeria in the Federal Government and prohibits unauthorised exploration or exploitation of minerals.

    Thus, to mine gold in Zamfara or any other part of the country, a licence must be obtained from the Federal Government through the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the report further explained.

    However, contrary to Mr Omo-Agege’s claim, what Governor Matawalle did was partner with some investors to mine gold in the state and sell to the CBN.

    Simply put, Zamfara does not own the gold but actually purchased it from the licensed operators in the market and sold it to the apex bank.

    The claim that gold deposits in Zamfara state belong to the state government is false. The gold deposits in Zamfara and other states and the crude oil in the south-south belong to the federal government.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Legit.ng to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.  

  • Zamfara gold deposit belongs to federal government, not state

    A twitter user claimed that gold deposits in Zamfara State belong to Zamfara State while Niger Delta oil belongs to Nigeria. 

    False. All gold deposits across Nigeria belong to the Federal Government.

    Full text

    A twitter user, Terry, claimed that Zamfara gold belongs to Zamfara State.

    The claim, posted on his handle, @_terry2020, implies double standard in ownership of natural resources across the country. 

    Terry was reacting to a Daily Trust story in which Zamfara State said it would supply gold worth N5 billion to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

    “Niger Delta Oil belongs to Nigeria. Zamfara gold belongs to Zamfara,” the tweet read. 

    A screenshot of the claim that Zamfara gold belongs to Zamfara.

    But how true is the claim that gold deposits in Zamfara State actually belong to the state and not the Federal Government?

    Verification

    The Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, vests the ownership of all minerals, including gold, in the Federal Government. 

    The Act vests control of all properties and minerals in Nigeria in the Federal Government and prohibits unauthorised exploration or exploitation of minerals.

    “All lands in which minerals have been found in commercial quantities shall from the commencement of the Act be acquired by the Federal Government in accordance with the Land Use Act. Property in mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery in accordance with provisions of the Act,” a post on Mondaq explained.

    To mine gold in Zamfara or any other part of the country, a licence must be obtained from the Federal Government through the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

    Recently, Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara disclosed that Zamfara had partnered some investors to mine gold in the state, displaced illegal miners and organised local miners into cooperative groups under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI).

    Note that Governor Matawalle also recently disclosed that the gold to be sold to the CBN would come from the state’s gold reserve purchased over time. 

    “For a start, we have purchased 31 kilogramme of gold, wholly mined and refined by our artisanal miners. We will subsequently continue to buy gold from our local miners so as to gradually improve the reserve. The precious metal would be deposited in a bank,” the governor said.

    This implies that it does not own the gold but actually purchased it from the market. 

    The Federal Government has also debunked the claim that gold deposits in Zamfara State belong to the state.

    Special Assistant to the President on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, tweeted using his official twitter handle, @toluogunlesi, that 

    “Zamfara gold (like all other resources) is owned by @NigeriaGov, on behalf of Nigeria. Anyone who wants to mine it has to apply for a license, mine, & pay taxes, royalties etc. Anybody can apply for a license; Lagos or Rivers can set up a mining company & apply to mine Zamfara gold,” Ogunlesi tweeted

    A screenshot of Ogunlesi’s debunking of the claim.

    The presidential aide explained further that gold mining in Zamfara is business regulated by the Federal Government, just as the oil in the Niger Delta. 

    “If you choose to believe that Zamfara gold belongs to Zamfara (it doesn’t!), you’re doing yourself. Someone else will make a move, get a license, and go and make money. That’s why it’s always important to be sure your mindset is not blocking the opportunities available to you,” he tweeted.

    Ogunlesi explained that any state in the Niger Delta can also own a modular refinery, and the state can sell the products to the government, but that does not make the oil in the Niger Delta the property of the state. 

    “Nothing stops South South States from setting up Modular Refineries. All they need to do is set up a company and apply for a license, or invest in existing companies. @NigeriaGov invested $10m in Waltersmith Refinery in Imo, Edo State Govt invested N700m in AIPCC in Edo,” he explained

    Similarly. a twitter user, Omo Iya Bolaji, explained that Zamfara State bought the gold from miners and sold it to the CBN.

    “A state (Zamfara) is competing with public entities and buying gold from the artisanal miners and selling to the FG who want to deposit gold bars. It’s business and not resource control,” he tweeted on his handle, @Adekbolagi. 

    A screenshot of a twitter user adding context.

    Conclusion

    Evidence shows that all gold deposits across Nigeria belong to the Federal Government. Zamfara State government maintains a gold deposit which stores gold purchased from the market. In any case, the Federal Government has also debunked the claim that gold deposits in Zamfara State belong to the state. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.  

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    The governor of Kaduna state in Nigeria, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, told potential investors that the state has “all the data” to prove that it has more gold than South Africa. Where is it? Africa Check went looking.

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