WHO did NOT rank Nigeria 4th best in COVID-19 response

MANY media reports claimed that the World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked Nigeria as the 4th best in COVID-19 response.

These media reports which are archived here, here and was also published by the Nigerian embassy in Sweden all attributed the claim to WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, a doctor, Walter Mulombo.

According to reports, Mulombo made the statement at an event on the arrival of the first consignment of 177,600 doses of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine in Abuja.

“We are witnessing the symbolic arrival of 177,600 Johnson & Johnson vaccines, another landmark event in Nigeria’s response to COVID-19 pandemic; widely acclaimed by many as one of the most successful so far in the world.

“Nigeria was ranked fourth among the top ten most successful responses to COVID-19,” the statement attributed to Mulombo read.

In a swift reaction, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), a group that supports and attempt to court goodwill for for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari celebrated the news, saying his fight against the pandemic was what necessitated the ranking.

In a statement signed by BMO Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO noted President Buhari’s determination to safeguard the lives of Nigerians and residents alike during the pandemic

“We also note that President Muhammadu Buhari did not spare any resource in ensuring that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 carried out its responsibilities without let or hindrance,” their statement react.

WHO debunks the claim

In a bid to verify the claim that Nigeria ranked 4th best in COVID-19 response, The FactCheckHub checked the WHO website but found nothing of such.

The FactCheckHub, however, reached out to the WHO spokesperson in Nigeria Charity Warigon, who clarified the issue.

“I wish to clarify that, WHO has not ranked countries in relation to COVID-19 response,” says Warigon.

2nd right, WHO Country Representative, Walter Mulombo at the arrival of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Nigeria. Photo: WHO/Ogbeide E.

Warigon in a telephone conversation with The FactCheckHub said what the country representative meant was that the country was efficient in handling COVID-19

“The WHO Representative [Walter Mulombo] meant to say Nigeria mounted one of the most effective response to COVID-19, putting in place courageous measures and helping to avert the widespread that was predicted,” she added.



    She added that “Some independent media analysis had previously presented a ranking for top 10 countries including Nigeria appearing on 4th position. It should be noted however that this is not a WHO ranking.”

    In addition when WHO reported the same event on their website, archived here, the statement about the ranking was not including.

    The Verdict

    The claim that WHO ranked Nigeria 4th best in COVID-19 response is inaccurate and MISLEADING, the WHO communication officer in Nigeria said the ranking did not emanate from the organisation.

    'Niyi worked with The ICIR as an Investigative Reporter and Fact-checker from 2020 till September 2022. You can shoot him an email via [email protected]. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation


    1. Judging from excerpts from BMO’s statement at the time,it is wrong for any fact checker to claim that the group attributed its position to the WHO.Be guided.

      see excerpts below

      The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has described Nigeria’s top-5 ranking in the Global Normalcy Index as a clear evidence of the success of the Covid-19 prevention measures introduced by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, as well as the cooperation of the Nigerian masses.

      In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that the Index produced by the Influential magazine, The Economist, is a major endorsement of the proactive measures conceptualized and enforced by the Federal Government to stem the tide of the pandemic in the country.

    2. Dear sir, Your fact checking is based on a wrong premise. BMO did not attribute the nation’s ranking to the WHO in its statement celebrating what you alluded to. It actually referenced The Economist normalcy index, not the WHO. So it would have been better if you had fact checked BMO’s position against the position of ‘The Economist’.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement


    - Advertisement