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FACT CHECK! 6 Lies Peter Obi Told at Chatham House, UK

Mr Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate for the February 25, 2023 elections in Nigeria has been accused severally by politicians of telling bare faced lies and inaccurate statistics while making his campaign speeches and presentations.

Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, was at the highly revered Chatham House in the United Kingdom on 16 January 2023 where he made a Presentation titled “Nigeria’s 2023 elections: A vision for policy change and institutional reforms,” to a global audience of intellectuals and leaders.

The following are top six (6) claims Peter Obi made at the event, in no particular order, which have turned out to be false or inaccurate.

Claim 1:

Claim: “As of 2015, Nigeria’s total debt stock is about N15 trillion. But today (January 2023), with CBN ways and means, we owe over N75 trillion.” Mr Obi claimed.

Verification: Nigeria’s public debt in December 2015 stood at N12.6 trillion, according to official data from Nigeria’s Debt Management Office. By September 2022, the Nigerian government’s domestic and foreign debts rose to N44 trillion. On the other hand, the CBN’s loans to the federal government stood at N23.8 trillion cumulatively. Therefore, Nigeria’s total debt combined with CBN’s loans is N67.8 trillion, not over N75 trillion, as claimed by Mr Obi.

Verdict: False

Source: Debt Management Office and Premium Times.

Claim 2:

Claim: Nigeria’s total health budget was below N2.5 trillion from 2015 – 2021

Verification: A review of Nigeria’s health budget from 2015 – 2021 shows that the federal government allocated N2.50 trillion to the health sector.

Verdict: Inaccurate

Source: Budget office of the Federation, Premium Times, and The Punch newspaper

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FACT CHECK! 6 Lies Peter Obi Told at Chatham House, UK

Claim 3:

Claim: Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in 2015 was $2,550

Verification: A review of World Bank’s data shows that Nigeria’s GDP per capita in 2015 stood at $2,679, contradicting Mr Obi’s claim.

Verdict: False

Source: World Bank

FACT CHECK! 6 Lies Peter Obi Told at Chatham House, UK

Claim 4:

Claim: There are 20 million out-of-school children in Northern Nigeria.
Verification: The total number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is estimated at 20 million, according to the latest global data on out-of-school children published in September 2022 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Therefore, Mr Obi’s claim that northern Nigeria accounts for 20 million out-of-school children in the country is false.

Verdict: False

Source: UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM) and Premium Times report.

READ MORE: CBN increases benchmark interest rate to control inflation

Claim 5:

Claim: Nigeria has about 60 per cent of youth unemployment.

Verification: The latest data on the NBS dashboard shows that Nigeria has 42.5 per cent youth unemployment.

Verdict: False

Source: National Bureau of Statistics 

Claim 6:

Claim: Apart from Venezuela, Nigeria is the only OPEC nation not meeting its Quota.

Verification: Latest data obtained from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows that from September to December 2022, none of the OPEC member countries met its production quota. The OPEC member countries are Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Venezuela.

Verdict: False.

Source: OPEC production data and monthly oil market report.

However, Mr Peter Obi mentioned some stats at the event which turned out to be true.