Tinubu makes false claim about Nigeria’s total population

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PRESIDENT Bola Ahmed Tinubu has claimed that Nigeria’s population is over 240 million.

Tinubu made the claim while speaking during the Nigeria-Qatar Business and Investment Forum in Doha held on March 3, 2024. The video was also shared on X (formerly Twitter), as archived here.

The visit to the Asian nation led to the signing of several agreements between the Nigerian government and Qatari authorities which range from education to sports.

During the visit, President Tinubu also spoke about the readiness of the Nigerian government to partner with the Qatari authorities and assured them of his government’s resolve to make Nigeria the best investment destination.

READ: TB Joshua: Video of Tinubu criticizing BBC documentary is doctored!

He said, “…My responsibility this afternoon is to tell you (the Qataris) that Nigerians are your friends. Open for Business. Open for honest partnerships.  To assure you that the country as a whole with over 240 million people is ready and anxious to welcome you and your investment with open arms and open hand…”

 

CLAIM

Nigeria’s population is over 240 million.

 

THE FINDINGS 

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.

Nigeria stood as the most populous country in Africa with an estimated total population of 226.2 million as of December 2023 with over 250 ethnic groups, each with its language and culture. The country’s population is projected to continue growing rapidly, and it is expected to overtake the population of the United States and become the third world’s most populous country by 2050.

Nigeria’s last conducted population census was in 2006 when the country’s population figure was put at 140 million. Statutorily, another population census was due in 2016, ten years after the last exercise but the Commission failed to conduct the head count.

The National Population Commission (NPC) is responsible for conducting census and managing other population issues in Nigeria. Even though the agency pledged to organise another census in 2023, the exercise was deferred three times before it was finally suspended indefinitely.

The Nigeria Population Projections and Demographic Indicators – State and National, published by the NPC in 2020, stated that the country’s total population projection for 2022 was 216,783,381. The most recent estimate provided by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that Nigeria’s population as of 2016 was 193,392,517.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), population censuses should be conducted at least every ten years but the failure of successive Nigerian governments to do the needful has made the country reliant on alternative sources of data such as the World Bank and the United Nations for the past 17 years. However, none of the estimates provided by these organizations suggested that the population of Nigeria has surpassed 240 million. 

Similarly, estimates provided by the World Population Review, according to Statista, show that Nigeria’s population stood at 226.2 million (226,184,946) as of December 2023. The country’s population was calculated to be 216 million in 2022. Similarly, the most recent data from the World Bank shows that the country’s total population as of 2022 is 218.5 million (218, 541, 212).

Nigeria’s population from 1950-2023. CREDITS: Statista

According to the Nigeria Population (Live) counter by Worldometre, a continuously updated estimate of the current population of Nigeria delivered by the organization’s RTS algorithm, Nigeria’s current population was 227.4 million (227,395,447) as of March 5, 2024.

In addition, the State of World Population 2023, a report published by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) put Nigeria’s population at 223.8 million in 2023. 

In conclusion, there is no credible publicly available data which corroborates Tinubu’s claim that Nigeria’s population is over 240 million.

 

THE VERDICT 

The claim by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that Nigeria’s population is over 240 million is FALSE; data from the World Bank, Worldometre and United Nations show that the estimated population of the country is not up to the figure stated by Tinubu.

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.

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