How true are viral claims on Nigeria’s unemployment rate, extreme poverty and debt profile?


A viral post on Twitter claimed that Nigeria has 28% unemployment rate, 49% poverty rate and $89.5billion debt profile.

The claims were made by a Twitter influencer Adetutu Balogun with the handle @Tutsy22 on October 5.

Balogun is currently having over 230,000 followers on her Twitter account where these claims were made.

She also stated in the tweet that  Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N10 billion for population census which was reported by several mainstream media organisations.

The tweet read: “* 28% unemployment rate, * 49% in extreme poverty, * $85.9Bn debt and counting, Buhari just approved N10 billion for census. Extreme irresponsible behavior is main crisis facing leadership in Nigeria.”


A screenshot of the tweet.



From the tweet, these claims were established:

  1. That Nigeria has 28% unemployment rate.
  2. That 49% of Nigerians are in extreme poverty.
  3. That Nigeria has $89.5bn debt profile.



Claim 1:

The FactCheckHub first checked the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) website for the data on Nigeria’s labour statistics to determine the total percentage of unemployment rate in the country.

According to the statistics  on Nigeria’s labour force released by the NBS for 2nd quarter (Q2) of 2020, Nigeria currently has 21,764,617 unemployed people. The data also stated that 27.1% people are unemployed in the country.

The NBS also stated in the labour force report that “The unemployment rate during the reference period, Q2, 2020 was 27.1%, up from the 23.1% recorded in Q3, 2018.”

From the data, it is obvious that the Nigeria’s unemployment rate stands at 27.1% and not 28%, which makes the claim FALSE.

Claim 2:

According to the United Nations, Extreme poverty, also known as Absolute or Abject poverty is known as “a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services.”

The World Bank in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in a 2019 report stated that those living in extreme poverty are  those living on less than $1.90 per day

In a bid to check if 49% of Nigerians are in extreme poverty, The FactCheckHub checked the World Poverty Clock,  a web tool produced by World Data Lab. The World Poverty Clock on October 13, 2020 revealed that 105,097,856 people equating 52% of Nigerian are living in extreme poverty in Nigeria based on the $1.90 benchmark.

The result stated further that 53,133,553 of the total people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria are males while 51,964,303 are females.

From the data, it is evident that 51% and not 49% of Nigerians are living in extreme poverty, thereby making the claim FALSE.


Claim 3

In a bid to check if Nigeria’s total debt profile stands at $89.5bn, The FactCheckHub checked the Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO) ― the office in charge of keeping record of the country’s debt.

From the data gotten from the DMO, as at June 30, 2020, Nigeria’s external debt stands at $31,477.13M, while the total domestic debt was $54,419.39 making Nigeria’s total debt $85,896.52M.

Nigeria’s total public debt portfolio as at June 30, 2020 from Debt Management Office.


Based on the information presented above the first two claims are FALSE while the third claim is TRUE.












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