Home Fact Check FACT CHECK: How true are Omoyele Sowore’s claims about the Nigerian economy?
FACT CHECK: How true are Omoyele Sowore’s claims about the Nigerian economy?

On the 5th of January, 2023, Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate for African Action Congress (AAC) appeared on the Arise news The Morning Show. He made some claims with respect to Nigeria’s debts and investments. We checked his claims, and here is what we found.

Claim I

Sowore claims the Federal Government invested $2.5 billion in the Dangote refinery in Lagos and cannot fix any of its own refineries.

Verification

In June 2021, Mele Kyari, the NNPC GMD, informed journalists that “NNPC might end up paying at least $4 billion for the 20% stake in the Dangote refinery.

On August 4, 2021, the minister of state petroleum, Timipre Sylva, confirmed that the federal executive council meeting, presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, approved the acquisition of 20% minority stakes in the Dangote Petroleum and Petro-chemical refinery at the sum of $2.76 billion.

As for refineries owned by the federal government, the government of the day shut down all four state-owned refineries in 2020. The government also approved $1.5 billion in fixing the Port Harcourt refinery.

Verdict

Sowore is correct about the Nigerian government investing in the Dangote refinery but inaccurate about the exact volume of investment. Nigeria is also fixing the Port Harcourt refinery, but none of the country’s refineries is performing at optimum capacity at the moment.

Claim II

Oil companies owe the federal government taxes totaling about N4.5 billion.

Verification

On September 10, 2022, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), told journalists that oil and gas companies owe the federal government about N2.6 trillion ($6.48 billion).

He added that Nigeria recovered N600 billion in 2022, however, he revealed that the outstanding taxes and fees stood at about $2.674 billion (N1.07 trillion). 

Verdict

It is indeed true that oil companies owe the Nigerian government, but the numbers quoted by Sowore are false. 

Claim III

NNPC failed to remit $5 billion from NLNG to the federation account.

Verification

In 2009, NNPC was indeed reported to have diverted $5 billion from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (Limited) to settle its debt. The $5 billion is a fraction of the $18.3 billion dividend payment to NNPC by NLNG between 2004 to 2019. 

The national assembly once probed the fund in question, but with no concrete conclusion to the investigation.

Verdict

Therefore, Omoyele Sowore’s claim is true about the $5 billion.

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