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Promoting Good Governance.

FACT CHECK: Six false, understated claims of Fasua, YPP at CDD debate on corruption

FIVE political parties, represented either by their presidential candidates or other top members, shared their strategies on the subject of ‘corruption and accountability’ at a debate organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development.

The event took place at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, and is a continuation of the Nigerian Political Parties Discussion Series. The first of the series, which centred on issues of national security, was held in December and had three parties in attendance.

In the latest edition, six political parties were invited and all but the All Progressives Congress were represented. For two hours, Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the Africa Action Congress (AAC); Tope Fasua, presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) responded to questions bordering on their plans to tackle corruption.

Others were Kazeem Afegbua, presidential campaign council spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); Paul Isamade, National Publicity Secretary of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria; and Egbeola Olawale Martins, National Publicity Secretary of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

In this fact-check, The ICIR examines seven claims made by Tope Fasua of the ANRP and YPP’s Olawale Martins.

Tope Fasua, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party
Tope Fasua. File credit: CDD West Africa

Claim: Nigeria has the highest level of maternal, child mortality in the world

“… and according to the World Bank and UN and all that, we are also the country with the highest number of poor people, the highest number of out-of-school children, the highest number of maternal mortality and child mortality. And I think this is very very important.”

According to the latest statistics about maternal mortality from the World Bank, Nigeria has the fourth worst maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births in the world (814), bested only by Chad (856), Central African Republic (882), and Sierra Leone (1360). This statistic was cited, in 2018, by Bill Gates, Co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Also, when it comes to child mortality levels, though one of the lowest ranked, Nigeria is not the worst performing country across the indices: neonatal, infant, under-five mortality rates. This is according to Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, a report compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank Group, United Nations, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

In the latest report, the infant mortality rates of Mali (66), Lesotho (67), Democratic Republic of Congo (70) and others are higher than Nigeria’s 65. The neonatal mortality rates of Mauritania (34), Mali (35), Lesotho (38) and others are higher than Nigeria’s 33. Finally, the probability of children aged 5-14 dying in Niger (39), Somalia (24), Cameroon (28), Cote d’Ivoire (27) among others is higher than Nigeria rated as 20.

Verdict: The claim is false.

Claim: 25% of our budget as at 2010 is spent by 18,000 top people, civil servants

“According to Adamu Fika report, 25 per cent of our budget as at 2010 and going forward is spent by 18,000 top people, who are top politicians, and top civil servants … this is unacceptable.”

In 2013, the Presidential Committee on the Review of the Reform Processes in the Nigerian Public Service, headed by former head of service Adamu Fika, submitted its findings to the government. Among Fika’s revelations was that Nigeria annually spends huge resources (N1.126 trillion) annually on the salaries and allowances of certain public office holders, constituting only 0.013 percent of the population (estimated then to be 167 million).

He said: “Of this, salaries took a mere N94.56 billion, while allowances gulped the whole of N1.03 billion, which represented 91.56%. There is, therefore, a need to take a hard look at this glaring anomaly, where allowances are more than ten times greater than salaries.

“Such a re-examination is very necessary in the light of the fact that the total number of beneficiaries of the RMFAC largesse is only about 18,000 officers.”

Verdict: The claim is true. The percentage of 25 is also fairly accurate. Using the 2013 budget of N4.987 trillion, this will give us 22.6 percent; and using the 2010 budget of N4.6 trillion, we will arrive at 24.5 percent.

Claim: If you Google the budget of Lagos or any state, you won’t see anything

“We are going to be looking at transparency in general. If you went to South Africa right now, you can Google the budget of Johannesburg and you will see it in pdf. You can Google the budget of Capetown. But if you Google the budget of Lagos State or any of our states, you won’t see anything.”

Actually, if you Googled these keywords, you would find something. BudgIt, a civic startup that documents, visualises and engages budgets and public data has done a remarkable job bringing all available budgetary resources into a single database, both at the national and sub-national level.

For 2018 alone, its database contains the summaries of Lagos and Kwara States’ approved budgets, as well as the approved budgets of Anambra, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Abia, and fourteen other states.

Verdict: The claim is false.

Claim: 50 percent of the police are bag carriers for people

“There are 400,000 people in the Nigerian police. 200,000 of them are carrying bags for people, according to the police themselves. According to the former chairman of the PSC, MIke Okiro, 50 per cent of the Nigeria Police are bag carriers for people. That is not good enough.”

Indeed, Mike Okiro, Chairman of the Police Service Commission, has made such a statement — but not exactly. In February 2018, Okiro said during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that more than 150,000 policemen are attached to VIPs and unauthorised persons in the country.

“We cannot afford to have more than half of the population of the Police in private hands,” he said.

Okiro did not, however, give the population of the Nigeria Police as 400,000. In an earlier fact-check of a claim by Osita Chidoka, former Aviation Minister, The ICIR established that this is not the population of the law enforcement body.

According to the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL), the Nigeria Police Force has a strength of over 350,000 men and women; and a recent statement by the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris suggests the population is within the range of 320,000.

Verdict: The claim is partly true.

Egbeola Olawale Martins, Young Progressives Party 
Egbeola Martins. File credit: Facebook/Egbeola Olawale Martins

Claim: Nigeria is ranked 152nd presently on the Human Development Index

“Let me start by saying the direct consequence of corruption is our placement in the Human Development Index, where presently Nigeria is being ranked 152nd among 157 nations in the world.”

No. According to the Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Nigeria is ranked 157th out of 189 countries. Though the country’s performance has continued to rise steadily, especially since 2010, the overall rank compared with other nations of the world worsened. In the UNDP reports of 2015 and 2016, Nigeria was ranked 152nd.

Verdict: The claim is false and outdated.

Claim: Nigeria is the worst place to give birth to children

“As it is today in Nigeria, we currently have over 13.5 million children [who are] out of school. Nigeria is the worst place to give birth to children, [and] as it stands today our life expectancy is being put at 55 years.”

A similar claim was made at the debate by Omoyele Sowore who said Nigeria “has become the capital  where a child is likely to die before the age of five”.

However, these claims do not agree with the figures provided by ‘Levels and Trends in Child Mortality’, a report compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank Group, United Nations, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

According to the 2017 report, half of all neonatal deaths (death during the first 28 days of life, constituting 46 percent of under-five deaths) are concentrated in five countries. India (with 24 percent) and Pakistan (with 10 percent) surpassed Nigeria’s 9 percent of the global figure.

More specifically, the latest report of 2018 states the country’s under-five mortality rate as 100 (per 1000 live births) and puts the figure of under-five deaths at 714,000. A comparative study of the figures shows that Central African Republic (122), Chad (123), Mali (106), Sierra Leone (111), and Somalia (127) have higher under-five mortality rates. Also when it comes to a total number of under-five deaths,  India (with a figure of 989,000) is worse off.

If maternal mortality figures are used to evidence this claim, it still will not hold water, as latest statistics from the World Bank — as earlier noted — place Nigeria as the fourth worst country, not the absolute worst.

Verdict: The claim is false.

Claim: Nigeria’s GDP to per capita income is less than $2800

“As we are speaking, our per capita income is put around … GDP to per capita income is put at less than $2800.”

The ICIR, in an earlier fact-check of Peter Obi, PDP vice presidential candidate, already established that information on the IMF website states that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita dropped to $1,994 in 2017. In 2018, the World Bank states that the country’s GDP per capita rose to $2,050. Therefore, though it is lesser than $2800 as claimed by the YPP publicity secretary, it is actually much less.

Verdict: The claim is understated.

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