Yemi Osinbajo

  • How & why is Nigeria losing billions to Twitter ban

    During the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday, August 7, the Nigerian government promised it would lift the ban it placed on Twitter, a microblogging site.

    The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced this on behalf of the government and further submitted that the team set up by the federal government has been having an “extremely positive” dialogue with Twitter. 

    While “appreciating the anxiety of Nigerians,” the information minister, in his hope-raising words, submitted that “the end for an amicable solution is very much in sight.”

    But fast forward in September 2021 — barely four months after the micro-blogging website was slammed with a ban– it has been like waiting for Godot as the country continues to lose money to an action many consider to be draconian, obnoxious and unnecessarily overthought.

    A way to the background 

    The Nigerian government on Saturday, June 5, officially banned Twitter from operating in the country, following its seemingly impulsive removal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial tweet.

    Irked by the wanton destruction, killings and attacks on security operatives in the southeast and south-south regions of the country, the president, a former military head of state and repentant democrat had threatened to treat some aggressive secessionists “in the language they understand.”

    Buhari’s statement came amid mounting security threats across the country climaxed by the abduction of some students in both government colleges and universities in Niger, Kaduna, and Zamfara by bandits.

    Controversial as it was widely understood, the statement was trailed by a whirlpool of reactions, with a number of social media users on Twitter calling on Jack Dorsey, the CEO and founder of the platform to give the “Buhari a Donald Trump treatment.” 

    Trump, a former US president, was suspended by Twitter after his tweet led to the attack on the Capitol amid grand delusions to overturn the victory of his predecessor Joe Biden in the November 3, 2020 election.

    In a subsequent move, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) ordered all the broadcast media in the country to suspend the use of Twitter “with immediate effect.”

    This was contained in a statement issued by its former director-general, Armstrong Idachaba, on Monday, July 7.

    Garba Shehu, a presidential aide, in a statement said “the removal of President Buhari’s tweet was disappointing.” He also claimed Twitter was not banned but temporarily suspended, citing that it is a place where “misinformation” trends, among other reasons.

    The Nigerian government has since then endorsed Koo, which represents a significant push in the Indian app’s journey to position itself as a genuine challenger to Twitter in Nigeria.

    However, in fierce defiance, Nigerians have continued to be using Twitter albeit with Virtual Private Network (VPN), a connection that extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks.

    Nigeria government losing money to Twitter ban: how?

    The country is said to have 40 million active Twitter users, though this claim has been disputed. The fact, however, remains that the micro-blogging platform not only provides jobs for Nigerians as social media managers and influencers but also generates revenue into the purse of the government.

    The Twitter ban has been having a strong effect on the revenue of Nigeria, with Africa’s most populous nation said to be losing a whopping N96.7million ($260,000) every single hour ever since July 2021 when the ban was announced.

    Between June 5 when the ban took effect and September 8 (96 days), Nigeria has lost N209 billion ($577 million) according to Netblocks.

    Netblock showing the amount of money Nigeria lost to #Twitterban in 96 days. Credit: Netblocks

    How does Netblock arrive at its figure?

    Netblocks, a data-driven web application that allows people, including journalists, researchers, advocates, policymakers to rapidly evaluate the economic cost of internet outages, makes estimates through its Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST).

    COST, a data-driven online policy instrument, gives an estimate on the economic impact of internet disruption, mobile data blackout, or app restriction in a nation registered under it.

    To achieve this, it uses indicators from the World Bank, International Telecommunication Union, Eurostat and U.S. Census.

    With this parameter which can be used for the cost of internet disruption on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram Whatsapp, Netblocks gives the exact cost of Twitter app restriction in Nigeria to be N209 billion ($577 million) since the ban came to effect in June 2021.

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

  • Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS

    Claim: A report by the Authority Newspaper claims that daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo brought about the dissolution of SARS.

    Misleading

    Full Text

    Amidst the continuous protest against police brutality and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the  Authority Newspaper, in a report published on Monday, October 12, 2020, claimed that the daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari and the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, brought about the dissolution of SARS. 

    According to the report, with the headline “How Buhari, Osinbajo’s daughters brought SARS down”,  the Instagram post by Kiki Osinbajo and Zarah Buhari brought the pressure that led to the final disbanding of the Squad.

    The report, which could still be found on the website of the newspaper on Friday morning,  leads with these paragraphs, “Unknown to Nigerians, the daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, brought the pressure that led to the final disbandment of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

    “Zarah Buhari and Kiki Osinbajo, were in the fore among Nigerian influencers who kicked against the abominable acts of the defunct SARS.”

    Apart from their efforts on Instagram, the report made no reference to any other activities involving the two that led to the acclaimed role of the duo and what  they they did to bring the police agency down

    Viral screenshot of Authority newspaper’s report.
    Screenshot of Online report by Authority Newspaper.

    SARS

    The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created in 1992 during the General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida military junta. A retired Commissioner of Police, Simeon Midenda, was quoted in a December 23, 2017 report by Vanguard newspaper to have claimed that  the unit was created by his effort.

    Midenda was quoted to have said, “SARS was founded by me in 1992. For a proper understanding of this, historical background to its formation is relevant. Anti-Robbery as the modus operandi of the Nigeria Police Force for combating armed robbery has been as old as the Police Force itself. As a unit also, anti-robbery had always existed in all Criminal Investigation Departments at Force Headquarters, Zonal and State Command levels. To claim that I founded SARS required explanation.”

    #EndSARS

    The hashtag #ENDSARS is a movement that started on Twitter against the brutality of a special unit under the police force known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). SARS has been accused of unlawful arrest, torture, and murder of Nigerian Youth. 

    The five demands of these protesters were: 

    -An end to SARS and police brutality

    -Release of all persons arrested and justice for victims of police brutality

    -Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days)

    -Psychological evaluation of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed, 

    -Increase in police salary.

    On the heels of the #EndSARS protest nationwide, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday October 11, 2020 announced the dissolution of SARS alongside other major police reforms. These reforms include the formation of an investigative team including civil society and human right groups, to investigate alleged cases of human rights violations by the police

    Following this, the presidential panel on reform of SARS also accepted the demands of these protesters, but the #ENDSARS movement initially aimed at ending SARS has  extended to other issues plaguing the Nigerian society. 

    Verification

    A keyword search showed screenshots of this paper’s report had gone viral, with some condemning the media for what it described as poor journalism. 

    An Instagram post by Nsifioke said media houses in Nigeria are dead.

    Screenshot of Nsifioke’s Instagram post.

    Looking at News reports, a report by the Guardian noted that the daughter of the president and vice president joined the #ENDSARS campaign by airing their views on Instagram.

    Screenshot of the Guardian report.

    A similar report by the Vanguard also noted that the daughter of the president and vice president joined the #ENDSARS protest by the post they shared on Instagram. The report noted that while Kiki Osinbajo shared an Instagram post, Zahra Buhari shared her opinion on her Instagram story.

    Screenshot of Vanguard’s report.

    Another report by Premium Times noted that both the daughter of the President and that of the vice president took to their Instagram handle to show their support for the #ENDSARS movement but the daughter of the president, Zahra Buhari, took down her post afterwards.

    Screenshot of Premium Times Report.

    Dubawa went further to verify these reports by checking out the Instagram pages of Zahra and Kiki. 

    Dubawa discovered that while Kiki Osinbajo’s post on #ENDSARS made on October 10, 2020, remains on her page, there is no post on #ENDSARS on the page of Zahra Buhari. 

    Screenshot of Zahra Buhari’s Instagram page.
    Screenshot of Kiki Osinbajo‘s Instagram page.
    Screenshot of Kiki Osinbajo‘s post on #ENDSARS.

    A Google reverse image search also showed different platforms that the screenshot of this paper had been shared. 

    A twitter post by @Deshysmalls with the screenshot of the Newspaper questioned the editor of the paper. 

    Screenshot of Deshysmalls twitter post.

    Similarly, another post by OlajideTV questioned what sort of blunder this report could be.

    Screenshot of OlajideTV’s post.

    Dubawa reached out to Zahra Buhari and Kiki Osinbajo on Instagram via direct message to get their reaction to the report by Authority Newspaper but there was no response as of the time of publishing this check.

    Dubawa,  also reached out to the newspaper to get reason for that report via email but is yet to get a response.

    Media experts comment

    Habib Oladapo, the Project Manager of Civic Media Lab said the report was already discredited by further developments.

    He said, “I think the newspaper was just playing on the fact that there was a statement later that evening that SARS has been disbanded so they were trying to give credit to those people probably because they are related to prominent people or the authorities. Maybe that is why it was done but that is totally false. there were also issues that came after and of course the protest still continued after that so that totally discredits their report”.

    To Moturanyo Alaka, the Executive Director, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), the report is an example of sensational journalism.

    “The report is an example of sensational journalism. The body of the piece provides no evidence of the claim of its headline. It in no way represents the standard or stance of the Nigerian media,” she said.

    Conclusion

    While it is true that Zahra Buhari and Kiki Osinbajo supported the #ENDSARS campaign, the headline and report by Authority newspaper stating that they brought down SARS is misleading. 

    Despite making their support known a day to the dissolution of SARS by the IGP, they did not in any special way influence the movement, aside sharing their opinions like every other Nigerians did on their social media account. It is also incontrovertible that both daughters did not come out to join the protest or lead any protest.

  • UK Court affirms Daily Trust’s report that VP sounded early warning on P&ID fraud

    Abdul claimed in his post that nothing in the Daily Trust’s report supported the accompanying headline: “How Osinbajo Detected P&ID Fraud Against Nigeria — UK Judge”. 

    The “fake news alert” on the report is misleading. The report is a genuine account of the judgment read by Sir Ross Cranston of the UK High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court. Sir Cranston said in his judgement that Vice President Osinbajo had described the P&ID transaction as  ‘a fraud on the nation.’

    Full Text

    Abdul, using his twitter handle, @ishakaa with over 29,000 followers, tagged the report that the UK Judge’s observation in his ruling that Professor Osinbajo detected P&ID fraud against Nigeria, as a “fake news alert.”

    The tweet claimed that nothing in the report supported the headline of the story: “How Osinbajo Detected P&ID Fraud Against Nigeria — UK Judge.”

    “FAKE NEWS ALERT: pls can the editor of @daily_trust Paper give us the link to that UK court records, there is nothing in your report to support this headline,” the tweet read. 

    Fake news alert on report of UK Court judge’s comment on Osinbajo

    About the ‘fake news alert’ report

    On September 6, 2020, Daily Trust Published a report with the headline, “How Osinbajo Detected P&ID Fraud Against Nigeria — UK Judge,” detailing the judgement of Sir Ross Cranston of the UK High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court.

    The report stated that the Judge ruled that “the timely observation and interventions of the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was instrumental in how the Process and Industrious Development Limited (P&ID) case became known and identified as a fraudulent endeavour.” 

    The Daily Trust’s report stated that the judge noted that the Vice President’s “fraud on the nation” statement in June 2018 turned the case against P&ID in Nigeria’s favour.

    The paper reported that according to the judgment read by Cranston, “Then the Attorney General and then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources had written to the Vice President on 23 May 2018 recommending further negotiations with P&ID. The Vice President had agreed, adding in manuscript on the letter that he was still of the opinion that the underlying transaction was ‘a fraud on the nation’, and that perhaps there might be ‘a need to independently review this view and investigate the entire affair more diligently.”

    Did the Judge actually say so in his ruling?

    Verification

    This researcher obtained the approved judgement of Nigeria Versus P&ID with Case No: CL-2019-000752 delivered on September 4, 2020 by the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court, Sir Ross Cranston.

    The approved judgment has also been published by Premium Times.

    An examination of the judgement of Sir Cranston, showed that the Judge mentioned “Professor Yemi Osinbajo” once, “Vice President Osinbajo” once, and “Vice President” 17 times in reference to the roles Nigeria’s number two citizen played in the P&ID transaction with Nigeria. 

    Sections 69 to 73 of the judgement detailed how Professor Osinbajo received several correspondences on the case and the options before Nigeria when he was Nigeria’s Acting Vice President.

    Section 74 detailed how Professor Osinbajo escalated the case to the level of President Muhammadu Buhari. “On 12 June 2018 the Vice President’s office reported that he had agreed with the recommendation and would take up the matter with the President,” the judgment read. 

    Furthermore, section 89 detailed how the Attorney General and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources wrote to the Vice President on 23 May 2018 recommending further negotiations with P&ID. 

    “The Vice President had agreed, adding in manuscript on the letter, that he was still of the opinion that the underlying transaction was “a fraud on the nation,” and that there might be “a need to independently review this view and investigate the entire affair more diligently.”

    In addition, Section 90 of the Judgement revealed that on June 12, 2018, the Vice President’s office wrote formally to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, stating his view that “the whole arrangement amounts to a fraud on the nation,” and that he had, therefore, additionally recommended to the President “the need to independently investigate all the relevant circumstances.”

    The judgement showed that it was on the basis of the recommendations that the President issued a directive on June 26, 2018 that the transaction be probed: 

    “On 28 June 2018 the Attorney General, Mr Malami, wrote to the acting chairman of the EFCC, passing on the President’s instructions to conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the [GSPA] and the subsequent events.” 

    Conclusion

    The “fake news alert” on the report published by Daily Trust that Sir Cranston ruled that Professor Osinbajo detected P&ID’s alleged fraud against Nigeria is misleading. The report is a genuine account of the judgment read by Sir Cranston. Sir Cranston mentioned unambiguously  that Vice President Osinbajo described the P&ID transaction as  ‘a fraud on the nation.’ 

  • Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, becomes the poster child of hate messaging

    A Facebook user alleged that the Vice president, Yemi Osibanjo, was hypocritical in his comment about IPOB and Fulani Herdsmen.

    There is no proof that the vice president, Yemi Osibanjo, made the above statements and the office of the vice president has described the claim as fake news.

    Full Text

    On May 3, a Facebook user claimed that the Vice president, Yemi Osibanjo, was hypocritical in his comments about the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in relation to the Fulani herdsmen. The user, @Borngreat Biafra further called on the public to repost his claim for all to see the hypocrisy of southerners, especially religious ones like the vice president.

    And as at Sunday, May 31, the post had gotten 325 reactions from Facebook users, shared by 3,400 users and commented on by 1,000 users.

    IPOB

    Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a secessionist movement in South-East Nigeria which aims at restoring the defunct Republic of Biafra, albeit, through peaceful means.

    Further, the group appears to be an offshoot of a similar group,  Movement for the  Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), a group with the same objectives as  IPOB, though less radical in activities. 

    Controversy around IPOB

    There have been several controversies around this group, especially with the declaration of the group as a terrorist group by the Nigerian military.

    Different reactions trailed this proclamation as some persons/ groups condemned the declaration while others called for the proclamation of Fulani herdsmen as terrorists too.

    Verification

    Dubawa reached out to the  Facebook user who made the claim via DM, but the user has not replied to the message requesting the source of his claim. It is important to note that there are no credible news reports attesting to this claim. All we have so far is the word of a Facebook user with no further authentication from any source including the source of the claim. 

    In a bid to further ascertain the claim, Dubawa also reached out to the office of the vice president. The Vice President’s media adviser, Laolu Akande,  replied Dubawa pointedly that the claim was “fake news”.

    Apart from the terse reply from the office of the vice president, a media analysis of the claim revealed no credible news platform had published any story insinuating the Vice President had criticised the IPOB and backed Fulani herdsmen.

    Conclusion

    Although the claim was attributed to the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, the author of the claim is yet to provide proof and there is no report anywhere that the vice president had at any point made that statement either orally or in writing. The claim is therefore FALSE.

  • Renewal of Tenureship is NOT a Constitutional Right!

    Ahmed Bashir claimed that it is not a “constitutional right” to renew someone’s tenure after expiration.

    While there is a provision in the constitution for another tenure post the first four-year reign, it is not a constitutional right. This is consequent on the fact that it is still subject to presidential appointment.

    Full Text

    The aftermath of President Buhari’s replacement of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) chairman- well ex-chair- left a slew of questions on the minds of many Nigerians.

    While BusinessDay’s publication laid the groundwork in answering key questions such as Muhammad Nami’s credentials– Fowler’s replacement, it is perhaps other headlines such as, “BREAKING: Buhari fails to renew Fowler’s tenure, names Muhammad Nami as successor,” that left many with mixed reactions and interesting statements. The statement made by President Buhari’s Personal Assistant to new media, Bashir Ahmed, is a notable example.

    He claimed it was not a constitutional right to renew the appointment of FIRS chairman in Nigeria. He argued that the expiration of Fowler’s appointment did not necessitate the President’s action for renewal.

    Ahmed Bashir via Twitter

    Failed FIRS Targets & the Buhari-Administration

    President Buhari appointed Babatunde Fowler as FIRS chairman in August 2015; the same year, the tax agency began to record shortfalls in tax revenue collections. This was after years of surpassing its annual targets, the economic recession of 2016 may have a bearing here.

    These consistent shortfalls (cumulatively N3.98 trillion circa 2015-2018) by the FIRS were the reason for Abbah Kyari’s query. We recall in August how the President’s Chief of Staff issued a query to Fowler in this regard. Also of consequence, was their role in the country’s failure to achieve its annual spending objectives within the past few years.

    But Fowler in his reaction to the query blamed the recession as well as lower oil prices in the international market for the variances in revenue targets and actual collections within the four-year period.

    Federal government plans to amend existing task policies (through the 2019 finance bill) are perhaps direct responses to the tax revenue remittances.

    While some may fear Fowler’s inability to meet tax revenue shortfalls may have led to his replacement; there are separate concerns that the replacement could have some political inkling ahead of 2023 presidential election.

    Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s friendship with Fowler spurred more of these assumptions. More so, denying him a second tenure as FIRS boss could reduce Osinbajo’s influence within the government.

    He is entitled to a single four-year renewal!

    Monday marked the conclusion of Fowler’s first four-year tenure as FIRS Chairman after a December 9, 2015 confirmation.

    In order to ascertain the veracity of Ahmed’s claim, BusinessDay obtained the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007 from the service’s website. The Act establishes the FIRS and charged it “with the powers of assessment, collection of, and accounting for revenues accruable to the government of the federation; and for related matters.”

    “the chairman and other members of the Board, other than ex-officio members, shall each hold office for a term of four years renewable only once”

    Section 4 of the FIRS Act 2007

    Nonetheless, it remains the President’s prerogative

    Based on the provision of the FIRS (Establishment) Act, 2007, Fowler’s tenure is renewable for another four years… but, at the discretion of President Buhari. Hence, Ahmed’s claim that the renewal of the FIRS chairman was not a constitutional right is TRUE!

    This report is a republished piece with the original by Business Day.

  • Nigeria Vice Presidential Candidates Debate – Fact Checking 13 Main Claims

    On Friday the 14th of December 2018, five vice presidential candidates vying for leadership roles in Nigeria met at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja for a debate. Debates have become customary during presidential elections for candidates to discuss prevalent societal issues and their proposed policies to address them.

    The participants at this debate were selected earlier this week by the presidential election debates group and a group of broadcast stations affiliated to the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

    The participants at the debate were Peter Obi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Yemi Osinbajo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ganiyu Galadima of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Khadijah Abdullahi of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) and Umma Abdullahi-Getso of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

    As expected, most of the candidates made a number of claims which may or may not be true, false or just plain exaggeration. Here’s a simplified way to ascertain what is true and what is not out of the barrage of information sent out yesterday.

    VERIFYING VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 1 – MR PETER OBI

    Mr Peter Obi started by reeling out statistics to attack the Buhari administration. He mentioned worsening inequality, misery index, terrorism index, poverty index, unemployment, health, education and all other key indexes he said have shown that Nigeria is getting worse. Let’s take a look at his first claim:

    Nigeria has 10 cars per 1,000 people. There are about two million vehicles in Nigeria.”

    FACT – According to road transport data by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for Q1 2018, estimated vehicle population in Nigeria as at Q1 2018 was put at 11,653,871. That means that vehicle ownership in Nigeria is way above the 2 million figure claimed by Mr Obi. Also, with the total population of Nigeria set at 198,000,000 in 2018, this means that (approximately) 1 out of 17 people have cars. Again, WRONG!!

    Second claim: “Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world today. Our inequality has worsened, our misery index has worsened.”
    FACT – According to a survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the population of out-of-school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world.
    The report indicated that most of these children are in Nigeria’s northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where insecurities caused by Boko Haram have disrupted academic activities. With UNICEF’s evidence, we can say that Peter Obi’s claim is TRUE.

    Third claim: “SMEs are contributing to more than 60 per cent employment in China.” He says China’s policies have guaranteed the country over seven million jobs annually, while Nigeria continues to lose over four million jobs per year.
    FACT – According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics as quoted by statista, China’s economic system is largely based on growth and export with the manufacturing sector being a crucial contributor to the country’s export competitiveness. The distribution of the workforce across economic sectors in China from 2007 to 2017 showed that in 2017, 27 per cent of the workforce were employed in agriculture, 28.1 per cent in industry and 44.9 per cent in services.

    According to the China Statistical Yearbook, in 2015 SMEs made up about 97.9% of all registered companies in China. Their total assets have been around 53.4% of China’s total number, their revenue was 62% of the total and the profits been 64.3% of the total with a number of 4.26 Billion Yuan. They also contributed nearly 58 per cent of the GDP and 68 per cent of exports.

    SMEs are also playing an increasingly significant role in the employment situation in China. The number of employees in SMEs makes about 82% of total employees in China. They are also responsible for nearly 75% of the new jobs every year.
    With data from China’s National Bureau of statistics, we can say that Peter Obi’s claim that MSME contributes more than 60 per cent employment in China is TRUE.

    Fourth claim: “Nigeria unemployment and underemployment was 24% in 2014, In 2017 it is now 40%. Within the same period that China produced 7m jobs, Nigeria lost 4m jobs.”
    FACT – According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ Labour Force Statistics Q1-Q3 2017, Nigeria’s unemployment and underemployment rate in Q1 2015 was 29%, In Q4 2016, the unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 35%. The last unemployment rate uploaded by the country’s official data repository, NBS was in the third quarter of 2017 and the unemployment rate as at then was 40%. So, The claim by Peter Obi about Nigeria’s current unemployment rate is TRUE.

    Fifth claim: “Nigeria has fallen on the global competitive index from 124 to 127.”
    FACT – According to the latest (2018) World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018, Nigeria rose on the index by 10 places. Nigeria is currently 115 (47.5%) out of 140 countries with chad being the 140th country (35.5%) and the United States of America being rated first with 85.6% rating.
    Obi wasn’t specific on his claim, he didn’t talk about the year so, for this and according to available document, the claim by Peter Obi on Nigeria falling on the global competitive index is FALSE.

    Sixth claim: “Oil is responsible for 80% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.”
    FACT – As of 2017, NBS figures showed that Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings from oil the oil sector stood above 90%. Also, according to Global Edge, the oil sector provides 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and 80% of its budgetary revenues.

    So, the claim by Obi that oil is responsible for 80% of Nigeria’s Forex is NOT ENTIRELY TRUE.

    Seventh claim: “In 2014, Nigeria generated $21bn in Foreign Direct Investment, in 2017, it fell to $12bn in 2017.

    FACT – According to NBS capital importation reports, the first quarter in 2018 saw a continuous growth in total Capital Importation into Nigeria, the fourth consecutive quarterly increase since Q2 2017. The total value of capital imported in the quarter stood at $6.3 Billion, which is a year on year increase of 594.03% and a 17.11% growth over the figure reported in the previous quarter. This increase in capital inflow in Q1, 2018 was driven mainly by Portfolio Investment, which grew from $3,477.53 million in the previous quarter to $4,565.09 million, accounting for 72.42% of the total Capital Importation during the quarter. As at the end of 2017, total capital imported into Nigeria was $12.2 billion, an increase of $7.1billion or 138.7 per cent from the figure recorded in 2016.

    So, according to this statistics, Mr Obi’s claim is FALSE.

    VERIFYING VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 2 – YEMI OSINBAJO

    The APC’s vice presidential candidate, Yemi Osinbajo who is also the serving vice president, went straight to the achievements of his party and listed the achievements of the current government from railways to payments to poor Nigerians.
    In his debate, he made the following claims:

    First claim: “With less revenue, we have spent N2.7 trillion on capital projects in two budget cycles, the highest in the history of Nigeria.”
    FACT – Since Prof Osinbajo was referring to the expenditure of this current administration, we verified this claim by assessing the budget allocation and expenditure between 2016 and 2017.

    According to the Budget Office of the Federation, the 2016 budget, as approved by President Buhari has an aggregate expenditure of N6,060,677,358,227 (N6 trillion) out of which N1, 587,598,122,031 (N1 trillion) was projected as capital expenditure but the total release for capital projects in 2016, according to the Accountant General, was N1,219,471,747,443 (N1.2 trillion) which translates to only 20% of the total budget size was spent on Capital Projects. Here’s a more visual look at this:

    In 2017, according to official documents from the office of the accountant general, out of the N2.36 budgeted for capital expenditure in the 2017 budget, a total of N1.6 trillion was released to Ministries, Departments and Agencies for financing capital projects in the 2017 federal budget.

    Going by available data on capital releases for 2016 and 2017, a total of N2.8 trillion has been spent on capital projects by the current government, so the claim that Buhari’s government have spent N2.7 trillion on capital projects, the highest in the history of Nigeria on capital investment is TRUE.

    Second claim: “The VP says the government has made giant strides in agriculture, especially in the production of rice, Nigeria is now producing 90% of rice consumption.”
    FACT – There is no documented evidence to back up the vice president’s claim that Nigeria produces 90% of its rice consumption.

    According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Nigeria consumes more rice than any African country and is one of the biggest producers and importers of the grain on the continent.

    In 2015, the Nigerian government through the Central Bank of Nigeria imposed import restrictions on rice and introduced a borrowing programme to stimulate local rice production while reducing the country’s food import bills, available data from Index Mundi and the United States Department of Agriculture states that rice imports increased from 2.1 million tonnes in 2015 to an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of rice in 2016, 2.6 million tonnes in 2017 and 3.0 million tonnes in 2018.

    Also, according to the International Grain Council, rice imports in 2016 was estimated to be 2.1 million tonnes and 2.7million tonnes in 2017. It is estimated that Nigeria’s rice import will be 2.8 million tonnes in 2018.

    Therefore, the vice president’s claim that Nigeria’s rice import has reduced and that Nigeria produces 90% of domestic rice consumption remains UNPROVEN.

    Third claim: “The micro-credit scheme under the larger social investments programmes of the Buhari administration has gone a long way to address poverty. Over 400,000 people have been lifted out of poverty.”
    FACT: According to a freedom of Information reply to PTCJ by the National Social Investment Office, the actual number of beneficiaries of the National Cash transfer programme is well known to the Community Trained Facilitators of the scheme who are said to be visiting the conditional cash transfer beneficiaries every week to support them with financial skills, savings group , basic enumeration etc. Based on this reply, we can ascertain that there is no public data to support this claim and as such, the claim by the Vice president that Over 400,000 people have been lifted out of poverty on the social investment scheme remain UNPROVEN.

    Fourth claim: “Social Investment Programme has N500 Billion going into it every year, we have employed 500 N-power graduates, we are feeding 9.2 Million pupils daily.”
    FACT: According to a freedom of Information reply to PTCJ by the National Social Investment Office, the entire amount appropriated to the NSIP has been N500 billion annually (commencing 2016) for 3 years (making a total of 1.5 trillion) but total releases so far (as at October 2018) amounted to about N307 Billion, representing 23.63% of the appropriated sum.

    So, the claim that N500 Billion goes into the Social Investment Programme every year is not TRUE as the appropriation is different from actual releases. However, we have verified the claim that the government has engaged 200,000 youths under its NPOWER programme. Information available on the website of the scheme states that only 200,000 Nigerians have been enrolled so far in the scheme and news report has it that another 300,000 youths have been engaged so far on the programme.

    So while the N500 Billion investment in NSIP annually is NOT TRUE, the vice president’s claim on NPower engaging 500,000 youths is TRUE.

    Fifth claim: “Bag of fertiliser now sells for N6,000 to N7,000 in Nigeria.”
    FACT: Price of fertiliser has experienced a drastic drop following the Nigeria-Morocco fertiliser deal. As at 2016, a bag of fertiliser sold for more than N10,000 but according to Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), the average fertilizer prices across the states increased by 0.20% for NPK, decreased by 0.88% for Urea and 2.59% for SSP compared to average fertilizer prices of September, 2018. In the open market NPK sold between N6, 150 – N9, 000, Urea N6, 200 –N8, 250, SSP N6,200 – N6,500.

    So the claim by VP Osinbajo that price of fertilizer hs reduced to N6000 -N7,000 in Nigeria is TRUE.

    Sixth claim: “On World Bank Ease of Doing Business report. Nigeria went down by 64 places under PDP, but has risen by 24 places under APC.”
    FACT: according to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business report, Nigeria went down from 120 to 170 between 2008 and 2015, in 2017, Nigeria moved 24 places from its 2016 spot of 169 to 145. According to World Bank Ease of Doing Business report released in October 2018, out of a total of 190 countries ranked by the World Bank, Nigeria was ranked 146th in 2018, dropping by a spot from its 145th position in 2017.

    So, the statement by VP Osinbajo that Nigeria has risen by 24 places under APC is TRUE.

    (We are still doing research on these claims, this report will be updated as new information arises)

  • How Accurate is Osinbajo’s claim that Nigeria debt only increased by $10 billion since Buhari assumed office?

    The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has said that the nation’s debt was $73 billion, a $10 billion increment from $63 billion the present administration inherited in 2015.

    He made the disclosure in Ibadan on Saturday during the 9th Public Lecture of Sigma Club at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.

    THE CLAIM:

    “In 2010 our debt was $35 billion, $41 billion in 2011, $48 billion in 2012, $64 billion in 2013, $67.7 billion in 2014, $63.8 billion in 2015, $57.8 billion in 2016, $70 billion in 2017 and $73 billion in 2018.

    “The nation’s debt as at today was $73 billion, an increment of $10 billion from the $63 billion inherited in 2015,”

    VERIFICATION OF CLAIM

    According to the Debt Management Office, as at June 2015, The External Debt Stock of Federal Government and the 36 States stood at $10.316 Billion; Domestic Debt Stock (FGN Only) was $42.633 Billion and Domestic Debt of States was $10.856 Billion which gives a grand total public debt stock of $63.806 Billion

    Also, according to the same document from Debt Management Office, the total public debt stock as at June 2018 stood at $73.207 Billion with breakdown as follows: federal Government and the 36 states owe $22.083 Billion, Domestic Debt (FGN Only) is $39.749 Billion and total Domestic Debt of States and the FCT stood at $11.374 Billion.

    Further analysis of Nigeria Debt Stock also revealed that in 2012, Nigeria’s debt stock was $48.496 Billion, in 2013, it was $64.509 Billion, in 2014, it was $67.726 Billion, In 2016, it stood at $57.391 Billion and as at December 31st 2017, the total debt stock was $70.999 Billion

    These figures, according to the Debt Management Office substantiate same figures quoted by the Vice President where he said “In 2010 our debt was $35 billion, $41 billion in 2011, $48 billion in 2012, $64 billion in 2013, $67.7 billion in 2014, $63.8 billion in 2015, $57.8 billion in 2016, $70 billion in 2017 and $73 billion in 2018”

    There was no available record on the Website of the Debt Management Office for 2010 and 2011, so it is difficult to verify the VP’s debt figure of $35 and $41 billion for 2010 and 2011 respectively.

    However, going by available data on public debt stock from 2012 till date, the total debt of the country in 2015 was $63.806 Billion and the current debt figure as at June 2018 stood at $73.207 Billion which is the same as the figure quoted by the vice president on Saturday.

    Therefore, the claim by the vice president that this government has only increased the nation’s debt stock by only $10 billion from $63 billion this present administration inherited in 2015 is TRUE.

  • Has the Nigerian Government Truly Spent 1.7 Trillion on Capital Investment as Claimed by Osinbajo? YES

    While addressing people at the 9th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (who is also Nigeria’s Vice President), claimed that the Federal Government has spent N1.7 trillion in capital investment in two budget years.

    “I am convinced that we can crack the jobs problem and we are in the right direction. First, by investing in infrastructure; we are investing more in infrastructure today than any previous governments in our history.

    “We have spent so far in two budgets, N1.7 trillion in capital investment – that is the largest in the history of the country despite earning 60 percent less; we are doing far more with far less resources,’’ said the Vice President at the State House Banquet Hall in Abuja.

    N1.7 TRILLION IN CAPITAL INVESTMENT IS THE LARGEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY

    The vice president said spending N1.7 trillion in capital investment is the largest in the history of the country despite earning 60 percent less.

    Since Prof Osinbajo was referring to a two-year expenditure of this current administration, we verified this claim by assessing the budgetary allocation and expenditure of 2016 and 2017. This year (2018) was not included because the budget was only passed a few months ago and technically, has not been spent yet.

    According to the Budget Office of the Federation, the 2016 budget, as approved by President Buhari has an aggregate expenditure of N6,060,677,358,227 (N6 trillion) out of which N1, 587,598,122,031 (N1 trillion) was projected as capital expenditure but the total release for capital projects in 2016, according to the Accountant General, was N1,219,471,747,443 (N1.2 trillion) which translates to only 20% of the total budget size was spent on Capital Projects. Here’s a more visual way to look at this:

    In 2017, a total expenditure of N7.44 trillion was passed by the National Assembly, out of which N2.99 trillion was for earmarked for non-debt recurrent spending, while N2.36 trillion was budgeted for capital expenditure, the figure which represents 31% of the entire budget.

    According to official documents from the office of the accountant general, out of the N2.36 budgeted for capital expenditure in the 2017 budget, a total of N1.6 trillion was released to Ministries, Departments and Agencies for financing capital projects in the 2017 federal budget.

    Going by available data on capital releases for 2016 and 2017, A total of N2.8 trillion has been spent on capital projects by the current government, a figure which is more than the N1.7 trillion quoted by the vice president, so the claim that this government have spent so far in two budgets, N1.7 trillion in capital investment is TRUE.

    A previous fact check had also shown that the latter part of Mr Osinbajo’s claim that the capital release “is the largest in the history of the country” is also true if the actual figures (N1.2 trillion in 2016 and N1.6 trillion in 2017) are taken in real value. In no previous year was up to N1 trillion actually released for capital projects in a budget year!

  • Is the Leaked IGP Interim Report to the Acting President ‘Classified Information’? #FALSE

    Ans: There is no iota of truth in this! Classified documents are usually marked as such, which the leaked document does not show.

    On the 14th of August 2018, a Premium Times journalist, Samuel Ogundipe, was detained as a result of an article published a week earlier.

    Defending the actions of the law enforcement agency, Jimoh Moshood, Nigeria’s Police Public Relations Officer, said on Thursday that the case is that of unlawful access to and publication of classified documents.

    He passed this remark while addressing protesters who demanded for the release of the detained journalist at the Police Headquarters, Abuja.

    “What we are saying is that even the Freedom of Information Act is limited when it comes to documents that are classified,” he said.

    “And if you have access to such a document, it is wrong; and that is the case we are investigating. The case the police department is investigating with respect to Samuel Ogundipe is that of theft and unjustified access to documents that are restricted and classified.”

    Moshood added: “This document does not fall under what the Freedom of Information Act permits a journalist to have.”

    CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS EXPLAINED

    According to Nigeria’s Official Secrets Act of 1962, “classified matter means any information or thing which, under any system of security classification, from time to time, in use by or by any branch of the government, is not to be disclosed to the public and of which the disclosure to the public would be prejudicial to the security of Nigeria”.

    The Act, in its very first section, also states as an offence transmitting “any classified matter” to an unauthorised person or obtaining, reproducing or retaining “any classified matter which he is not authorized on behalf of the government to obtain, reproduce or retain”.

    Documents are classified because of reasonable likelihood to cause some level of damage to national security if there is unauthorised disclosure, and the classifier must be ready to justify the classification upon request.

    HOW DOES A CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT LOOK?

    The Official Secrets Act of 1962 does not proceed to lay down a fundamental system of security classification nor stipulate how a classified document can be physically recognised. There are however general standards that may be applied by inference.

    The 2001 Guide to Marking Documents of the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency says marking classified documents has six purposes: to alert the holder that the item requires protection, advise the holder of the level of protection, show what is classified and what is not, show how long the information requires protection, give information about the origin of the classification, and provide warnings about any special security requirements.

    It further provides that “there are three essential markings required on all information classified as national security information… [and they] will appear on the face of each classified document.”
    They are a. Classification Line (at the top and bottom, usually in red ink); b. Portion Marking; and c. Classification Block which consists of the identity of the original classification authority (OCA), agency and office of origin, declassification instructions, and reason for classification.

    According to the United Kingdom Government Protective Marking Scheme, documents may be classified as top secret, secret or official.

    Page 1 of a former classified document: the National Security Directive 54, a 2009 presidential directive on federal cybersecurity (released June 5, 2014). (U) stands for ‘unclassified’.

     

    A look at former secret documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals these markings to be present. (S) represents secret, (TS) represents top secret, (C) represents confidential, (U) represents unclassified, and so on.

    IGP LETTER TO ACTING PRESIDENT HAS NO MARKINGS

    A leaked copy of the interim investigation report sent to the Acting President by the Inspector General of Police evidently has none of the aforementioned markings that suggest it to contain classified information. It is, by all indications, a typical letter.

    Page 1 of the IGP letter to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

    If it is argued that the document is indeed classified, then reference may be made to Section 1(3)(a) of the Official Secrets Act which provides possible defences to the offence of transmitting or reproducing classified information.

    It states: “In proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) of this section relating to any classified matter, it shall be a defence to prove that when the accused transmitted, obtained, reproduced or retained the matter, as the case may be, he did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to believe that it was classified matter.

    Therefore, in this case where Premium Times journalist, Samuel Ogundipe, is alleged to have unlawfully published classified information, it is the case that he could not have known as the document itself does not claim to be classified.

    AND WHAT IF IT IS CLASSIFIED? … A GLANCE AT THE UNITED STATES

    When Donald Trump became president of the United States, he wanted reporters who publish classified documents arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). But according to this Forbes article by Anders Corr, publisher of the Journal of Political Risk: “This would be a break from past enforcement policies and would be an increase in the power of government relative to the free press in the U.S.”

    He also wrote: “While it may technically be illegal to publish classified material, the Federal Government has generally not enforced laws against such publication by legitimate journalists when that classified material leaks from government sources.”

    His view was supported by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black—and the court generally—in the 1971 case of New York Times and Washington Post where it was ruled that the Nixon administration could not prevent the press from publishing leaked, classified Vietnam War documents.

    James Comey, Director of FBI, was asked in 2017, and he replied that the matter was “probably beyond my ken”. But Jonathan Peters, a media law professor at the University of Kansas has said, for prosecution to be valid, the publication under scrutiny would have to result in “direct, immediate and irreparable damage” to the safety or interest of the state. Leaking classified information is, therefore, not automatically a crime in itself.

    Finally, also instructive is that in 2013, the U.S. Justice Department said it was not going to bring charges against Julian Assnage, WikiLeaks founder, for publishing classified documents because “government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists.”

    POLICE CHARGE HAS NO MENTION OF ‘CLASSIFIED INFORMATION’

    Moreover, the charge filed by the Police against Ogundipe, released on Thursday by Premium Times, has also partly belied Police PRO Moshood’s claims. The nature of the crime committed, according to the document, is “criminal trespass, theft in dwelling house, and having in possession of police interim investigation report”.

    While it claims that the document was stored “in the confidential registry of the State House, Federal Capital Territory”, the charge does not expressly categorise the document as classified.

    Police charge against Samuel Ogundipe

    CONCLUSION

    From all indications, it is FALSE that the IGP Interim Report sent to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was classified information. Unlike other classified documents, it was not marked with necessary classifiers. And if it is truly classified, then not only does Ogundipe have a defence under the Official Secrets Act, it might be rash for the government to take legal action on that basis alone.

     

     

     

    © Copyright DUBAWA 2018. This factcheck was written by Kunle Adebajo (International Centre for Investigative Reporting). View the original piece on their website: https://www.icirnigeria.org/fact-check-is-the-igp-interim-report-to-acting-president-classified-information/

  • VP Osinbajo’s claim not true: State House Clinic not for all Nigerians

    Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is well regarded across the country as a stickler for truth and integrity. But PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report that the nation’s number two citizen did not tell the truth regarding who can receive healthcare at the State House Medical Centre in Abuja.

    By Tobore Ovuorie

    Mr. Osinbajo had on February 26, in Lagos, said the state house clinic was open for use by all Nigerians.

    The vice president was responding to questions at the Pastors and Leaders Retreat of the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos.

    He said the medical centre was a well-equipped general hospital always open for use by the public.

    However, when PREMIUM TIMES visited the hospital on May 4 and 7, the Vice President’s claims were found to be untrue.

    The question Mr. Osinbajo answered at the event was triggered by a PREMIUM TIMES report of February 2 indicating that the presidency planned to spend more on the State House Clinic than on all the federal teaching hospitals in the country.

    Based on the budget proposal in the public domain at the time, the clinic was billed to gulp N787million more in capital allocation than all the 16 federal teaching hospitals combined.

    The State House Medical Centre provides services for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Osinbajo, their families and employees of the Presidency.

    The 72-bed clinic thus offers services to less than 1, 000 Nigerian elite. But the 350-bed Abuja National Hospital, which caters for millions, got far less in capital allocation.

    The same situation applied at the federal teaching hospitals across the country which bed spaces triple that of the state house clinic and cater for millions, train medical doctors and allied health professionals while also serving as medical research centres.

    The February 2 report triggered outrage across the country with citizens and activists calling on government to review the funds allocated to the state house clinic downward while pumping more money into health facilities open to millions of Nigerians.

    To deflate the mounting criticism of government at the time, Mr. Osinbajo claimed the hospital was open to all Nigerians and that it should not be considered an exclusive preserve of presidency officials.

    He said he even preferred that the facility be further equipped to provide higher medical services to those in need.

    But our reporter, who sought to access treatment at the facility on two occasions, gathered evidence which countered Mr. Osinbajo’s claim.

    The qualification assessment and blockades

    The qualification assessment for treatment at the State House Clinic began over one kilometre away from the facility.

    The assessment was not done by health workers but by army officers who mounted blockades.

    An army officer stopped our correspondent at the security post on the road leading to the hospital at 11.55 a.m. on Wednesday, May 4.

    The security check was not limited to PREMIUM TIMES correspondent but to all those going into the exclusive zone.

    “Hello, madam, where are you going?” the young soldier asked.

    Upon being informed that she was headed to the State House Clinic, he continued, “Do you work there?”

    The reporter responded that she was ill and needed to see a doctor.

    Mr. Osinbajo’s claims immediately started falling apart.

    “Are you entitled to treatment there,” the soldier asked.

    Our correspondent sought to know what he meant just as the officer continued, “Do you have a card?”

    The officer, who had no name tag, waved the reporter on when she explained that she was referred by another doctor to see a specialist at the facility.

    At the gate to the clinic, another soldier in civilian attire waved the reporter down, asking the same questions his colleagues asked.

    When our correspondent repeated her earlier responses, the officer raised his hand and the automatic barricade went up welcoming PREMIUM TIMES into the health facility.

    Mr. Osinbajo’s claims countered

    State House Medical Centre’s webpage admits it is not open to the public

    At 11.59 am, when out reporter got inside the facility, she met a senior health officer at the General Out Patients Department (OPD), who gave her name simply as Matron Ahmed.

    “Are you entitled to treatment here,” was the first question Matron Ahmed asked PREMIUM TIMES.

    Our correspondent immediately engaged her in a friendly conversation.

    “Who is entitled to services in this facility,” our correspondent asked, “Because I am a Nigerian and I guess every Nigerian is entitled to service here.”

    “Where do you work,” the health official asked.

    When told that she works in a newspaper house in Lagos, Matron Ahmed replied, “This one is presidency. It is mainly for presidency. It’s just like in the states, you have government house clinics. This is state house clinic for the presidency. So, it is meant for only those who work in presidency,” the matron said.

    “If you go to National Assembly, they have their own clinic. It’s just like that. If you go to CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria), they have their clinic. If you go to NNPC they have their own clinic. And it’s only those people who work there that can use it.”

    Besides the hospital not being open to all Nigerians, family members, including children of workers at the presidency who are above 18 years old are not entitled to treatment at the facility.

    The rule, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, applies even if the ward is a student or unemployed.

    When asked if our reporter could access treatment if a family member works in the presidency, the official said, “You are already above 18 and already working. You can’t access treatment here.”

    She, however, explained that it was nothing personal but that it was organizational policy, adding that she was equally affected by the policy.

    “My daughter is above 18 and can’t access treatment here. Even if she is not working, she is not entitled since she is above 18.

    “Though I am working here, I took my father to Garki hospital. We have an eye clinic here,” the health official said.

    Patients attended to while that discussion took place were first asked their ages. That information was cross-checked from the computers in the office.

    Our correspondent also found that while the State House Clinic is digitized, teaching hospitals in the country are still struggling with dusty paper files with many patients’ files often reported missing.

    The endless queues witnessed in other government-owned hospitals are non-existent at the State House Clinic.

    Confirming the quality of services provided at the facility, the matron said, “We are good here at the state house clinic. We have to set the pace. So, if people complain about us, what will happen to others? It will be terrible. So, we have to set the pace no matter what.”

    After explaining that she (the reporter) wasn’t qualified for treatment at the facility, the matron recommended Garki General Hospital to our reporter for physiotherapy and Asokoro General Hospital for psychiatry care.

    But not without a motherly advise.

    “Don’t mind the delays you will meet there and the attitude of the health officials you may encounter. All that should matter to you is getting the needed services,” Matron Ahmed advised.

    Vice President’s reaction

    The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, confirmed that members of the public cannot access services at the presidential clinic.

    In an email to this newspaper which he titled “Response to PREMIUM TIMES inquiry on access to Aso Rock Clinic,” Mr. Akande stated, “It is true to say that the State House Clinic is not open to everybody.”

    Explaining further, he said the vice president initially thought the State House Clinic was an exclusive medical centre for the President and the Vice President.

    According to him, Mr. Osinbajo has since discovered that the 72-bed clinic is used by staff of the Presidency and their families as well.

    Mr. Akande did not say why the vice president claimed the facility was open to all Nigerians when he knew all along that it was exclusively for presidency officials.

    “Information from the Medical Director of the Clinic also indicates that on recommendations, non-government officials are also able to use the clinic. The point is that the clinic is not exclusive to the President and the Vice President, but open to a wider range of Nigerians,” Mr. Akande said.

    But Mr. Akande’s argument is contradicted by what is published on the website of the presidential health facility.

    A post on the site reads, “The State House Medical Centre provides medical services to the President, Vice President and their families, aides, staff of the State House and other entitled public servants.”

    A repeat visit to the presidential clinic on Saturday, May 7, validated PREMIUM TIMES’ earlier experience as the norm at the health facility.

    Again, our reporter’s qualification for healthcare at the medical centre was assessed right from the outer gates by a security official and was again screened at the clinic’s gate, just like it was during the first visit.

    Medical doctors and nurses in the paediatrics and obstetrics/gynaecology departments respectively refuted Mr. Akande’s claim of recommended non-government officials using the clinic.

    “Ordinary Nigerians can’t use this clinic,” was a common phrase on the lips of all State House Clinic health officials interviewed for this story.

    “May be they want to make it open to all Nigerians, but as at this moment that you are speaking to me, the clinic is not open to Nigerians. Indeed, this hospital has very good facilities and services that can serve Nigerians but isn’t doing that yet,” an official who cannot be named for concern she might be punished, said.

    “There is no iota of truth in that claim that non-presidential workers use here. This place is not a general hospital. Even our children who are above 18 years-old are not entitled to treatment here. You have been lied to,” a doctor at the facility told PREMIUM TIMES.

    “You know, in Nigeria, some are more equal than others.”

Back to top button