EconomyFact Check

To promote content, verified Twitter account mislead followers with Lagos’ billionaire claim

Claim: A Twitter user claimed 6000 billionaires reside in Lagos state.

To promote content, verified Twitter account mislead followers with Lagos’ billionaire claim

Verdict: FALSE. The claim is inaccurate. Statistics on Naira billionaires living in Lagos State show they are not up to 6,000. 

Full Text

One of the undoubted descriptions for Lagos State is that it is the richest state in Nigeria, as it boasts of generating the highest internal revenue annually. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the state generated ₦2.06 trillion between 2019 to 2021. The closest state in that period was Rivers State with ₦410.14 billion.

Lagos State also topped the tax revenue rate at ₦1.08 trillion within the period to own its space as the country’s economic headquarters. This, perhaps, influenced beliefs that billionaires troop all over the state.

Recently, a Twitter user Lukman Shobowale (@lukmanshobowale), tweeted that there are exactly 6000 billionaires in Lagos.

Mr Shobowale, a realtor and the co-founder of Dukiya Investment, made good use of this point to drive home his message about real estate.

His persuasive tweet reads, “Do one thing right for yourself today and read this thread. There are 6000 billionaires in Lagos, like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 to 6-0-0-0. How is this even possible, so I began to ask some questions…”.

As of May 11, the tweet has gained 342,000 views, 1,805 likes, 802 retweets and 155 comments.

Among the retweets was Piolis Biggest Fan (@KingSantiagoXVI), who doubted the claim’s authenticity. He tweeted, “6000 Billionaires in Naira (1.6 million USD) (Hardly Believable). 6000 Billionaires in Dollars (BIG FAT LIE).”

Another Twitter user, Ola (@danielholkss) thinking that the claim was in dollars, said Africa barely had up to 20 billionaires, which contradicts Mr Shobowale’s claim of 6000 billionaires in Lagos alone.

He tweeted, “6000[?], Africa has a total of 18 or 20 billionaires. Dangote at 1 and Wiese the last. Where are the rest coming from?”

Seeing the conflicting comments under the post, DUBAWA investigated the claim and set the records straight.

Verification 

Though the Twitter user did not specify if the rate is in Dollars or Naira, a further keyword search through his account, like here, indicated that he was referring to billionaires in Nigerian Naira.

But what do we know about billionaires in Naira living in Lagos?

In a 2022 report by Henley Global Citizens, Lagos occupied the fourth African city with the most millionaires. The state houses 6,300 millionaires in dollars and 330 with over $10 million. Twenty residents have over $100 million, while only three are billionaires in dollars living in Lagos.

By 2023, the dollar millionaires dropped to 5,400, placing Lagos at 72nd on the global list of cities with the most millionaires. 

At the normal bank rate of N462.5 per dollar, the aforementioned 6,300 millionaires in 2022 will have a net worth of ₦463 million on the estimate. If each dollar is converted in the parallel market rate of ₦745, as seen at Aboki Fx on May 12, 2023, each millionaire will be worth ₦745 million.

These statistics and both conversion rates indicate that the naira millionaires still fall short of the ₦1 billion worth. The claim would have been more credible if limited to his quote, 330 Nigerians with a net worth of $10 million,” surpassing the billion naira benchmark at the normal rate or parallel market.

While it may be true that many billionaires reside in Lagos, precise statistics are up for debate. Considering the disparity between the dollar rate to the naira and the value of the currency in question can determine who to call a billionaire. 

Conclusion

While it is true that many naira millionaires exist in Lagos State, putting the statistics at 6000 nullifies the claim. Available data shows the number of billionaires in Naira and Dollars is less than 6,000.

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