Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), said during his presidential campaign rally in Enugu state on January 11, that Nigeria does not have lithium or natural gas.
In an attempt to convince the people of Enugu, that coal, which is found in the state will be used to improve their lives and generate electricity, Tinubu said it is near-impossible to produce electric cars in Nigeria.
“Wake up Africa, let’s use what we have, let’s turn our charcoal to money, let’s turn our gas to money. They say crude oil, the price is falling, yes whatever it takes,” Tinubu said.
Almost immediately, he goes on to say Nigeria does not have lithium and gas.
“If you know the statistics of the world and you think you need over 200 million there about of electric vehicles, I don’t know if you can get 3 or 4 electric vehicles in Nigeria. Where are you going to get it from?
“Is it a country that has no Lithium, a country that there’s no gas, a country that cannot charge telephones not to talk of charge vehicles? Don’t deceive yourself.”
Is it true Nigeria does not have lithium and gas?
Our findings show Tinubu’s claim is false. Nigeria not only has lithium but high-grade Lithium in large quantities in states such as Kogi, Nasarawa, Ekiti, Kwara, Cross River, Oyo, and Plateau.
Abdulrazaq Garba, director-general of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency in June 2022 also confirmed that Nigeria was indeed rich in lithium.
According to Garba, Nigeria’s lithium is “hard rock,” hence its attractiveness to foreign investors.
Olamilekan Adegbite, the minister of Mines and Steel Development, also confirmed Nigeria has lithium. He said in August 2022 that the country rejected the electric car company Tesla’s bid to export lithium from Nigeria.
“When I was in Saudi Arabia, we were approached by Tesla, a lot of its battery companies were there and they approached Nigeria, they were interested in our Lithium and I said no, we don’t want to export lithium from Nigeria, come to Nigeria, come and establish your factory plant,” he said.
“Mine the lithium, produce the batteries and then you can export that, gone are the days when we would export raw minerals.”
Lithium is the central constituent in powerful modern batteries used in everything from cell phones to electric cars such as Teslas.
Tinubu’s claim on gas is also false. By his own admission, Tinubu had initially said “let’s turn our gas to money,” only to say the country has “no gas”.
According to the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), the country’s gas reserves stood at 209.5 trillion cubic feet as of January 2022.
Statista data also show that Nigeria has the largest gas reserve in Africa.
Multiple credible sources confirm that Nigeria is rich in lithium and natural gas. Therefore, Tinubu’s claims are false.