2023 election: Fact-checking 12 claims made by Kwankwaso at Chatham House


THE presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 made several claims on Nigeria’s current situation and his plans for Nigerians if elected president on February 25.

Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State is the third candidate who spoke at Chatham House in London, United Kingdom after Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peter Obi of Labour Party, respectively.

In this fact-check, The FactCheckHub examines the veracity of some of his claims.



Over 133 million Nigerians according to the NBS are living in abject poverty.


According to a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on multi-dimensional poverty, about  133 million people in the country, representing 63 per cent of the population, are living in different categories of poverty.

The report stated that 65 per cent of the poor (86 million people) live in the North, while 35 per cent (nearly 47 million) live in the South.


The claim is TRUE, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.



Kwankwaso claimed that he would increase the military active personnel from 223,000 to 1 million (take note of 223,000).


According to data by the World Bank, the number of Nigeria’s military personnel stood at 223,000 as of 2019.

However, data from Global Firepower, an organization that ranks nations of the world based on current available firepower shows that the Nigerian military stands at 215,000 out of which 135,000 are active personnel while 80,000 are in the paramilitary. For 2023, Nigeria is ranked 36 of 145 out of the countries considered for the annual Global Firepower  review.


The claim is FALSE; as latest data shows that the number of active military personnel stands at 135,000.



There are 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria.


According to United Nations Educational Organisation (UNESCO), Nigeria now has about  20 million out-of-school children.

According to the data, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan have the highest figures for out-of-school children globally.

UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report shows that Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with most children and youths out of school.

The report stated that 244 million children and youth between the ages of 6 and 18 worldwide are still out of school.


The claim is TRUE, according to UNESCO data.



About 3.4 million Nigerians are living with HIV/AIDS.


Data from the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that an estimated 1.9 million Nigerians are living with HIV/AIDS as of 2021.

Similarly, a 2018 data from the Nigeria HIV/AIDs Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) shows that about 1.9 million people in Nigeria are living with HIV/AIDs.

Also, a 2021 data from Statista and The Guardian newspaper corroborated the 1.9 million figure.

It will be recalled that in 2016, Nigeria was the second most hit globally with 3.2 million people living with HIV/AIDs in the country.


The claim is FALSE; findings show that the figure is less than 2 million people.


READ MORE: 2023 election – Fact-checking Peter Obi’s claims at Chatham House



Nigeria accounts for more than 9 per cent of the global HIV burden.


According to the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), about 38.4 million [33.9 million–43.8 million] people globally are living with HIV as of 2021. When this is compared to Nigeria’s population living with HIV, that’s about 5 per cent.


Thus, the claim by Kwankwaso that Nigeria accounts for 9 per cent of the global population of people living with HIV is FALSE.



53.3 per cent of Nigeria’s population are of age 15 and above the total number of children under the age of 5 is nearly 36 million.


A Statista data on the age structure in Nigeria from 2011 to 2021 shows that the country’s total population in the age group 15-64 years stood at 53.73 per cent in 2021. This was also reported here.

The children under the age of 5 in Nigeria stood at about 31 million, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),


The claim by Kwankwaso that 53.3 per cent of the country’s population are of age 15 and above is MOSTLY TRUE whereas his claim that about 36 million of children are under the age of 5 is FALSE.



More than seven million babies are born each year.


A data on UNICEF’s website show that at least seven million babies are born each year in Nigeria.


The claim is TRUE.



Women’s childbearing age in Nigeria is between 15 – 49 years and they are over forty million.


UNICEF reports that 40 million women of childbearing age in Nigeria are between the ages of 15 and 49 years, adding that they suffer a disproportionately high rate of health issues surrounding birth.


The claim is TRUE.


ALSO READ: Fact-checking Nasir El-Rufai’s claims about Nigerian military size, others at Chatham House



More than half of the Children under the age of 5 die from malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.


Findings by the FactCheckHub show that the claim is TRUE.

According to UNICEF, infant mortality currently stands at 69 per 1000 live births while for under five, it rises to 128 per 1000 live births. More than half of the under five deaths results from malaria, pneumonia or diarrhoea 

In 2018, Nigeria made up the highest number of those who died with an estimated 162,000 deaths from pneumonia 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the leading causes of death in children under 5 years are preterm birth complications, birth trauma, pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria all of which can be prevented or treated.


The claim is TRUE.



As of 2015, 57 million Nigerians lack access to improved water supply.


Findings by the FactCheckHub show that the claim is TRUE .

Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene remains a major challenge, contributing significantly to high levels of diarrhoea-related deaths in Nigeria.

As of 2015, 57 million Nigerians were without access to improved water sources, while 130 million people were without access to improved sanitation, according to UNICEF.

Women and girls suffer disproportionately from the lack of adequate WASH services. They bear the burden of water collection over long distances, which has been associated with negative effects on well-being, school attendance, and a higher risk of gender-based violence (GBV), according to a World Bank report in 2021.


The claim is TRUE.



2023 would be the first time in 20 years that the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari won’t be a presidential candidate.


Findings by the FactCheckHub show that the claim is TRUE.

According to Nigeria’s State House publication on the biography of the President, Muhammadu Buhari ran for the Nigerian Presidency in 2003 and 2007 under the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP).

He left ANPP in March 2010 for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and ran against the then President, Goodluck Jonathan, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2011.

He emerged as the presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 and won the 2015 presidential election defeating President Jonathan.

Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution stipulates the tenure of office of the President. Buhari he will be ending his two-term tenure as a democratically-elected Nigerian President in May 2023 and will no longer be eligible to contest for same position again. The Nigerian Presidency reiterated same in an October 2019 tweet here.


The claim is TRUE.



Nigeria represents 2.8 per cent of the world’s population, contributes 10 per cent of global deaths for pregnant women.


Nigeria is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa and ranks 7 on the list of countries by population.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs said that Nigeria’s population has reached 216 million in 2022, accounting for 2.7 per cent of the global population, The Punch reported.

Latest statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that Nigeria accounts for nearly 20 per cent of global maternal deaths, while the lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, or after an abortion for a Nigerian woman is 1 in 22, compared to 1 in 4,900 in developed countries.

As of November 2022, the Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria also lamented the high rate of maternal death in the country, saying Nigeria is nowhere near achieving the Sustainable Development target of reducing the global maternal ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.


The claim that Nigeria represents 2.8 per cent of the world’s population is MOSTLY TRUE; findings show that Nigeria accounts for 2.7 per cent. Meanwhile, the second part of the claim is FALSE, as Nigeria contributes nearly 20 per cent of global maternal deaths.

Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

Fact-checker at The FactheckHub  | [email protected]

Seasoned fact-checker and researcher Fatimah Quadri has written numerous fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy pieces for The FactCheckHub in an effort to combat information disorder. She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected].


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