Home Fact Check FACT CHECK: How true are Saraki’s claims about Buhari’s government?
FACT CHECK: How true are Saraki’s claims about Buhari’s government?

Bukola Saraki, a former president of the senate and a PDP stalwart, has made multiple claims about the economy and the state of the nation under President Muhammadu Buhari.

Saraki, who appeared on Arise News The Morning Show on January 16, 2023, to assess the chances of his principal, Atiku Abubakar, made some claims and compared the PDP-led administration (1999 to 2015) to the APC-led administration (2015 to date).

We checked his claims, and here is what we found:

Claim

Bukola Saraki said the Muhammadu Buhari/APC administration has seen the highest level of oil theft in the South-South. 

Fact Check

Mele Kyari, the first group chief executive officer of NNPC Limited, revealed that oil theft has ravaged the country over the last 22 years but the rate it assumed in recent times is unprecedented.

He said in recent years, Nigeria loses between 470,000 to 600,000 barrels per day. Similarly, the senate Ad Hoc committee on Petroleum (Upstream), revealed that Nigeria lost over $2bn to oil theft between January and August 2022. NNPC puts the figure at $10 billion between January and July 2022. 

The report indicates that the Muhammadu Buhari administration from 2015 to date has recorded the lowest oil output since 1999. Business Day reported that Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration recorded an average of 2.24 million barrels per day (BPD), Umaru Yar’Adua administration recorded an average of 1.96 million BPD, while Goodluck Jonathan’s administration recorded an average of 2.02 million BPD respectively.

Under Muhammadu Buhari, output continues to hover around 1.59 million BPD. 

A New York Times report of 2003, puts oil theft during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration at 100,000 to 130,000 barrels per day. Similarly, former President Umaru Yar’adua at a summit in Tokyo in 2008, put the amount of crude oil stolen from Nigeria’s Niger Delta at 100,000 barrels per day

However, during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, there is no uniform data on the amount of crude oil stolen. The minister of Petroleum resources puts the data at 180,000 barrels per day, while the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force pegs the theft at 250,000 barrels per day.  

In 2013, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Chatham House, and The Economist pegged Nigeria’s stolen crude oil at 60,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. 

Verdict

With these available data and reports, Saraki’s claim is TRUE. Nigeria has not witnessed this current level of oil theft in its history.

Claim II

The former president of the senate claimed that inflation in the country today is about 16% and it was never like that in the PDP administration. 

Verification

Nigeria’s inflation rate at the end of 2021 stood at 16.95%. Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria pegs inflation at 21.47% for November 2022 — the highest in at least 17 years.

The latest data for Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate, shows that inflation rate stood at 21.34% as of December 2022.

Therefore, Saraki’s claim that inflation stood at 16% is tenable in 2021 not in 2023. The last report from the CBN shows an increase. Therefore his claim is false.

Similarly, his claim that it was never like that during the PDP administration implies that inflation never rose to about 16%.

Historical records show that the average annual inflation rate in 2001 and 2005 stood at 18.87% and 17.86% respectively. 

In fact, the highest inflation rate since the return of democracy in 1999 was recorded under a PDP-led government in August 2005, when the inflation rate stood at 28.21%.

Verdict

Bukola Saraki’s claim about today’s inflation rate is false. His claim about the APC government having the highest inflation rate is also false.

Claim III 

Unemployment was about “6,7,8% under PDP”. He said today, it has risen to 33% under the APC government.

Fact Check

The World Bank report showed that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 6.4% in 2010, rose to 10.6% in 2012, and was estimated at 33.3% at the end of 2020.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ latest report, Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 33.3% in 2021. 

Verdict

Based on the data available, Saraki’s claim is true. 

Claim IV

Foreign Direct Investment as of today is about $2 billion compared to $8 billion during the PDP administration.

Fact Check

In 2008, Foreign direct investment rose to $8.19 billion and increased to $8.56 and $8.84 billion in 2009 and 2011 respectively. As of the second quarter of 2022, the FDI dropped to $1.535 billion from $2.39 billion in 2020.

Verdict

Saraki’s claim about the FDI drop under the APC government is true. However, it should be noted that in 2015, the last year of the PDP-led government, FDI fell to $3.06 billion. FDI did not stand at $8 billion throughout the PDP administration.

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