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UNGA: How True Are PMB’s Assertions?

Photo Credit: Guardian 3 mins read

CLAIM 1: “Poverty in all its manifestations remains one of the greatest challenges facing our world…In this regard, Nigeria has developed a National Social Investment Programme – a pro-poor scheme that targets the poorest and most vulnerable households in the country,” says President Buhari.

MISLEADING: While the government records several achievements under the National Social Investment Policy (NSIP), it is very hard to verify claims about the NSIP as there is no credible database that houses full details of the activities of the programme. Moreover, the World Poverty Clock, a web platform designed to provide real-time poverty estimates, shows that 94 million out of 197 million Nigerians are still living in extreme poverty. In a fact-check we did, we showed that Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world, making his claims to the benefit of this programme highly questionable. 

CLAIM 2: “We have since issued 2 sovereign great bonds and additional 1 million hectares of forested land taking total forest coverage to 6.7% through collective national coverage,” asserts President Buhari.

PARTLY TRUE: In December of 2017, Nigeria joined Poland, France and Fiji in issuing a sovereign green bond, making it the 1st in Africa and the 4th in the world. However, the lack of data on greenhouse emissions, the consistent gas flaring in the South, and heavy national dependence on fossil fuel powered generators, makes it hard to determine if these govt actions are significant.

On forestry, as of 2015, the latest data available, forest coverage in the country is 7.68% of the country’s land area, the lowest in 25 years. In the last 25 years, the country has annually seen a gradual decrease in its forest coverage, consistently. Forest here is explained as land spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ.

CLAIM 3: Nigeria is a nation of nearly 200 million people of diverse groups

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE: Nigeria has not conducted a population census since 2006, hence varying figures. Nonetheless, according to the World Population Review, at present, Nigeria’s population is over 202,161,923. This figure is consistent with other population projections for the country. In 2018, Nigeria was estimated at 195.9 million people according to the census figures with an average yearly growth rate of 2.62%.

CLAIM 4: The present Nigerian government is facing the challenges of corruption head-on…

FALSE: Various news publications backed with sufficient shreds of evidence have been submitted to anti-corruption agencies for lawful prosecution without results. For instance, the Supreme court ordered that certain past lawmakers return monies allegedly stolen, which they flouted. In 2016, the auditor-general of the federation indicted several MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) for defrauding the government of billions of Naira; the report was treated lightly with several contracts awarded to the same MDAs. In 2018, the present governor of Kano state, Umar Ganduje was caught on video receiving dollars from a suspected contractor. In 2019, the Kano government revoked the contract with the contractor, but the federal government failed to investigate the case. These are just a few of the several corruption related cases… 

CLAIM 5: “Our diversity is our source of strength which is why in elections this year, our people backed the politics of tolerance, inclusion and community over the politics of protest and division,” says President Buhari.

FALSE: The 2019 elections was dotted with cases of election violence, ballot snatching, vote buying, voter intimidation by security officials, as well as other election irregularities. Violence was especially recorded in states like Rivers and Lagos; and the Coalition Observer Group disclosed that 626 people were killed during the elections. Also, an opposition candidate, Omoyele Sowore, was detained for initiating a #RevolutionNow nationwide protest as a direct result of the election.

Additionally, fact checks by Dubawa attest to instances of violence and widespread misinformation during the election.

Strengthening Investigative Journalism for the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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