Home Fact Check FACT CHECK: How true are Shettima’s claims about Lagos economy and Nigeria’s military spending?
FACT CHECK: How true are Shettima’s claims about Lagos economy and Nigeria’s military spending?

By Aisha Ibrahim and Mustaqeem Adamu

Kashim Shettima, the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), was invited to the Fashin Baki Hausa chat hosted by journalist, Bulama Bukarti. CDD election war room monitored the 90 minutes chat and found some controversial claims made by the former governor of Borno state.

We checked the claims and here is what we found:

Claim I: Is Lagos the fifth largest economy in Africa?

Shettima claimed Lagos is Africa’s fifth-largest economy. When asked why he and his principal want to become Nigeria’s next president and vice president, he said the aftermath of Tinubu’s rule in Lagos is that the former governor successfully transformed Lagos into the fifth largest economy in Africa.

There have also been claims of Lagos being the third-largest economy in Africa. But how true are these assertions?

Summary of claim and verdict


The economy of countries and states are measured by their gross domestic product (GDP). To verify this claim, CDD Election War Room compared the GDP of Lagos to that of other countries in Africa.

In September 2022, Babajide Sanwo-Olu presented the Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP 2052), a 30-year development plan for the state. According to the plan, Lagos’ GDP in 2019 was $84 billion.

The latest data from the Lagos Bureau of Statistics (LBS) (page 61) shows that the state’s GDP for 2020 was $75.965 billion, at N350 to $1, the prevailing official exchange rate at the time.

Comparing Lagos’ GDP to those of other countries in Africa, we found that as of 2019 and 2020 — which are the latest data available — Lagos is the eight largest economy in Africa — behind Kenya and ahead of Ghana.

GDP of the largest economies in Africa as of 2020

By the state’s own admission in its Lagos State Development Plan 2052, Lagos is also the eighth largest economy in Africa as seen in the image below:

Lagos’ own development plan admits to the fact


Following the above data, it is clear that Lagos state is not Africa’s fifth largest economy, Lagos is at best the eighth largest economy on the continent.

Claim II: Shettima claimed that at the end of the civil war there were 500,000 Nigerian soldiers, and a national population of  55.78 million. He also stated that about $660 million was spent on security. 

The civil war started in July 1967 and ended in January 1970, lasting for about two and half years. According to multiple sources, including the Encyclopedia of Wars and Global Security, the Nigerian military increased in population to about 200,000 and 250,000 personnel at the end of the war in 1970.

Shettima also said Nigeria’s population after the war was 55.78 million. According to World Bank data, Nigeria’s population went from 54.36 million in 1969 to 55.57 million in 1970.

World Bank data also showed that military spending stood at $660 million or 5.28% of GDP in 1970.


The former governor of Borno state was indeed correct about Nigeria’s military spending in 1970, and marginally correct on the nation’s population at the time, but wrong about the military strength at the end of the civil war. 

Claim III: What is the strength of the Nigerian military?

Kashim Shettima has also stated that in 2022, there were 213,000 soldiers and that $3.2 billion was spent on security in 2021.

According to the World Bank, Nigeria military strength was 223,000 in 2019. The Global Fire Power, which has measured military strengths since 2005, put Nigeria’s military at 225,000 in 2023.

Another claim is that $3.23 billion was spent on security in 2021. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which measures military spending across the world, Nigeria spent a record $4.46 billion on security in 2021.


The claim that Nigeria spent $3.23 billion on security is also false. Shettima understates the actual military spending for the year.

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