Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, has been caught yet again making false claims about the value of Nigeria’s exports.
He was caught twice claiming that the country would export less than $30 billion in goods and services in 2021, trailing smaller African peers such as Morocco.
Obi contended that Nigeria is a “non-producing country” with a weak export base, resulting in dollar scarcity in the country.
However, after fact-checking him, the French news agency AFP discovered that his statement was false.
Annual Nigerian exports have exceeded $30 billion for well over a decade, according to official data.
Obi first made the claim during an hour-long interview with Nigerian broadcaster Arise Television on July 6, 2022.
“Morocco is about 36 million, their export last year was over 50 billion dollars,” said Obi.
“In our own [exports] with oil included, it’s under 30 billion [dollars] and we’re 200 million [people]. Morocco didn’t export any oil.”
“Nigeria is a country with 923,000 square kilometres of land, and a population of 200 million people. God blessed us with oil and other resources. We have over 100 million people living in poverty,” Obi said in the second interview.
“But to show that we are not a producing country, last year, our total export including oil was less than 30 billion dollars, that is why we can’t find dollars today.”
During a visit to Abia state about two weeks later, he repeated the claim.
Indeed, Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil exporter.
The commodity is the country’s largest source of dollar inflows, accounting for more than two-thirds of total exports in 2021.
Oil output, on the other hand, fell in the first five months of 2022, raising new concerns about the country’s economic output and currency stability.
According to the World Bank, Nigeria’s total exports in 2019 were worth US$ 53.6 billion. Macrotrends put the figure at $63.6 billion. Oil and gas contributed $41 billion to the total.
In the same year, Morocco exported goods worth $47 billion. In 2021, Nigeria shipped US$47.6 billion worth of goods around the globe.