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FACT-CHECK: How true is Buhari’s claim that Nigeria is better off today than in 2015?



Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari likes to boast about the progress he claims the West African nation has made under his administration, which started in May 2015. In many speeches and interviews, he talks about his governance records and how he has performed better than his predecessors, particularly in the areas of anti-corruption, economy, and security.

In addition, the president almost always blames past administrations for current challenges, many times citing the “near destruction of the country” under the PDP which had ruled Nigeria and produced three presidents – Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007); late Umaru Yar’Adua (2007-2010); and Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2015) – in 16 years.

On June 20, Mr Buhari claimed his administration is leaving Nigeria in a “far better place than we found it” seven years ago. The president said this in a written response to questions from Bloomberg.

“We leave Nigeria in a far better place than we found it. Corruption is less hidden, for Nigerians feel empowered to report it without fear, while money is returned; terrorists no longer hold any territory in Nigeria, and their leaders are 2deceased, and vast infrastructure development sets the country on course for sustainable and equitable growth,” Mr Buhari said regarding his performance in fulfilling his pledges to fight corruption, secure the country and fix the economy.

A lot has happened since 2015 when Mr Buhari came into office and his administration is now rounding off, with less than one year to complete his full two terms of four years each.

But how true is the claim that Nigeria is better than he met it in 2015?

Before now, the president has been caught several times making unsubstantiated claims in his speeches. Therefore, to separate facts from fiction, PREMIUM TIMES is examining the three areas of governance that Mr Buhari was asked about in his interview with Bloomberg – corruption, security, and the economy.

Economic performance

Prior to 2015, Nigeria’s inflation rates remained at single digit–even as analysts opined at the time that it was high. For instance, in the whole of 2014, the nation’s inflation rate moved between 7.7 per cent, which was the lowest, to the highest point of 8.5 per cent, official data shows.

By 2015, when Mr Buhari took over power, the inflation rate averaged 9 per cent.

Since then, the nation has seen a surge in inflation rates. Data released by the statistics bureau, NBS, has shown that under Mr Buhari, Nigeria’s inflation rate hit a 16-year high amid an increase in prices and poor purchasing power.

In 2016, inflation rose to 15.68 per cent and jumped to 16.52 per cent in 2017. The numbers dropped to 12.09 per cent in 2018 and down to 11.40 per cent in 2019. By 2020, the inflation had risen to 12.2 per cent and closed in 2021 at 16.95 per cent.

In May, NBS said the inflation rate climbed to 17.71 per cent.

A key element of inflation in Nigeria in recent years is the skyrocketing prices of food and general goods and services.

Over the last seven years, food inflation in Nigeria has averaged 17 per cent – rising, for instance from 9.78 per cent in May 2015 to 20.3 per cent in November 2017.

In 2014, meanwhile, the nation’s food inflation was at 9.2 per cent. It rose to 10.4 per cent at the end of 2015; 17.4 per cent in 2016; 19.42 per cent in 2017; 13.56 per cent in 2018; 14.67 per cent in 2019; and 19.56 per cent in 2020.

Food inflation climbed to 20.57 per cent year-on-year in January 2021, according to data released by the NBS, making it the highest in over 11 years. It closed at 17.37 per cent in December 2021.

In May, however, the food inflation rose to 19.5 per cent amid an increase in prices of staple food across the country. The Russia-Ukraine war has exacerbated the problem but prices started surging with hardship deepening well before the conflict.

It is not only inflation that has increased under President Buhari, when he took over power in the second quarter of 2015, the unemployment rate rose to 9.9 per cent in the third quarter of that year from 8.2 per cent in the second quarter, according to the NBS.

Since then, unemployment, poverty, and economic disempowerment have remained a disturbing feature of Nigerian life. Between May 2015 and May 2021, Nigeria’s unemployment rate has more than tripled.

The current data on the NBS dashboard shows Nigeria’s unemployment rate is 33.3 per cent, translating to some 23.2 million people, the highest in at least 13 years and the second-highest rate in the world.

Similarly, the last poverty survey from the NBS showed that 40 per cent of the Nigerian population, or almost 83 million people, live below the poverty line.

According to the NBS ‘2019, Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria report, which was based on data from the Nigerian Living Standards Survey conducted in 2018-2019 with support from the World Bank’s Poverty Global Practice, the nation’s poverty line was put at 137,430 nairas ($381.75) per year.

In June, the World Poverty Clock also put the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria at 83 million, or 39 per cent of the population, while the country’s total population stood at 214 million.

Also, between 2014 and 2019, Nigeria dropped nine places on the Global Human Development Index, HDI, published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The country was ranked 152 out of 187 countries in 2014. But, in 2019, the index placed Nigeria 161 out of 189 countries worldwide. The country scored low on all three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living.

Also, between May 2015 and now, the Nigerian economy has fallen into recession, twice.

Under Mr Buhari’s stewardship, the economy fell into recession, first, in 2016 when the economy contracted 2.06 per cent between April and June, and in 2020 when COVID-19 decimated economies all over the world.

In November 2015, barely six months after Mr Buhari was inaugurated as president, the naira sold against the dollar at N197. Between then and now, the Nigerian currency has gone through ceaseless devaluation, with two of such exercises occurring in 2020 alone.

This year, the currency had been trading between the range of N417 and N422 for a dollar on the relatively flexible spot market window but on the black market, dealers exchanged the naira at N600 and above.

In the same vein, Nigeria’s debt profile has risen considerably since Mr Buhari took over power, as budgetary proposals have been designed considerably around debts.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s debt profile stood at N12.12 trillion as of June 2015, shortly after Mr Buhari took office. The DMO said Nigeria’s total public debt as of March 31, 2022, was N41.6 trillion. The figures include the Debt Stock of the Federal and State Governments, as well as, the Federal Capital Territory.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Buhari administration borrowed three times the combined amount by past governments since 1999.

Having looked at these key economic indices – inflation, unemployment rate, exchange rate, GDP and recession, food prices, and debt level, PREMIUM TIMES found that all these elements have worsened under Mr Buhari than they were before he took office in 2015.

Hence, the president’s claim that Nigeria is better economically is false.


Before Mr Buhari took office in 2015, Nigeria was beleaguered by security threats, most considerably Boko Haram holding a large territory within the borders of the country and causing a humongous humanitarian disaster in the country’s North-east.

Since 2015, Nigeria has made advances against the terrorists and pushed them to the fringes of Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad Islands when the Islamic State in West Africa, ISWAP, is believed to be headquartered. But the re-capturing of much of the areas, especially northern Adamawa, including Michika, Mubi, and Madagali, and parts of Borno, including Gwoza and Bama, occurred between late 2014 and early 2015 under President Goodluck Jonathan.

PREMIUM TIMES’ reporters have repeatedly conducted on-the-ground reporting in the area and Nigeria newspapers, including ours, published reports of the military successes in those areas just before Mr Jonathan exited.

But the area remains highly militarised and several villages around Michika and Madagali in northern Adamawa and Gwoza, Uba, and Lassa in Borno remain prone to Boko Haram attacks. Fishing activities on the Lake Chad islands are still largely controlled by ISWAP, a key part of their financing. In June, the House of Representatives noted an “increase” in Boko Haram attacks in northern Adamawa and mandated the military to reinforce security in the affected communities.

While success is being recorded in the North-east, other parts of the country have become hotbeds of violence. Outside Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states, the original base of the terrorists, ISWAP has claimed responsibility for attacks on military formations and civilians in Taraba and Kogi States this year.

Then, apparent mismanagement of the country’s diversity by Mr Buhari, who repeatedly made divisive comments (the 97 vs 5 comments, for example), has aggravated ethnoreligious distrust and tensions and fuelled secessionist agitations.

In the northwest, bandit groups are virtually in charge, operating from ungoverned forests and exploiting the absence of police and local administration. Having originated in Zamfara State, the gang violence has since spread to five other nearby states, namely Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Niger, the last of which is in North-central.

In the middle part of the country, thousands of people have been killed in increasingly vicious land disputes between cattle herders and farmers. Farther to the south, the Biafran agitation has turned increasingly violent in the South-east. And in various pockets throughout the country, kidnapping has become common on major highways and schools.

Recently, rarely does a day go by without the press reporting a deadly attack or a kidnapping. In the first quarter of 2022, at least, 2,968 people were killed from mass atrocities while 1,484 were abducted, according to data released by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST).

Our findings revealed that while significant progress has been in the northeast, Mr Buhari has, on a larger scale, failed to keep the promise of securing Nigeria.

This claim by the president is, therefore, rated not true.


The perception of corruption in Nigeria under Mr Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, averaged 25.8 per cent. The score fluctuated between 24 and 27 per cent during the five years of Mr Jonathan.

Mr Buhari’s tenure as of 2020 averaged 26.6 per cent. Within the five years since he assumed office, the country’s score has ranged between 25 and 28 per cent, according to Transparency International (TI).

Nigeria’s ranking on the global index has, however, not been impressive. Between 2016 and 2020, Nigeria has slipped in the country ranking by 13 positions, from 136 in 2016 to 149 in 2020. The rankings are from 1 to 180, with 180 indicating the country that has the worst perception of corruption.

But a country’s placement on the ranking may not be because the country was perceived to be more corrupt; instead, the perception of corruption in other countries changed, Transparency International said.

A PREMIUM TIMES analysis of the annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by TI showed that Mr Buhari had the best performance in fighting corruption compared to his predecessors since 1999.

Mr Buhari has not made a significant ethical impact on the system by force of personal example and political will. He has not disclosed what his treatments in the United Kingdom for undisclosed ailments cost taxpayers and he has been captured at various times forging political alignments with individuals either indicted and being prosecuted or being investigated for corruption by the anti-graft agencies.

Cases of alleged serious corruption – like those of Stella Oduah, Danjuma Goje, and Godswill Akpabio – are believed to have gone “silent” after the affected politicians joined Mr Buhari’s APC or aligned with his political interest.

Also, after Panama Papers and Pandora Papers investigations offered the law enforcement agencies actionable intelligence with the releases of Nigerian past and serving officials who may have breached the country’s code of conduct law, no action has followed.

Then, Mr Buhari pardoned two former governors – Joshua Dariye, Plateau State; and Jolly Nyame, Taraba State – who were convicted and jailed for corruption, devastating the morale of the country’s anti-graft operatives, who had committed many years of work to investigate and secure the convictions.

Apart from appointing individuals already under investigation for monumental corruption to serve in his government, he allowed serving officials exposed for corrupt practices, especially procurement fraud, to remain in service. A think thank, Centre for Democracy and Development says that Mr Buhari’s anti-corruption promises remain “largely unmet”

Despite having been indicted twice for corruption by separate probes, the vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos remains in office. And Mr Buhari allows the NDDC to remain without a board and substantive management, making the organisation vulnerable to corruption. The result of an audit of the NDDC by the president is yet to be made public.

“As the candidate who rode into office in 2015 on a wave of popular anger with entrenched elite corruption, he has made little effort to reform Nigeria’s patronage-fueled, scandal-prone public sector or hold his top officials accountable for their business-as-usual approach,” CDD said in its report, titled, “Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Record at Six Years: An Assessment.”

This claim by the president is, therefore, rated not true.

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Family rule, corruption, Centre’s bias to dominate Telangana polls




Family rule, corruption to dominate T'gana polls

Family rule, alleged corruption and discrimination by the Centre are among the key issues that are likely to dominate the Assembly elections in Telangana scheduled next year.

The opposition parties may also try to rake up the issues of mounting public debt and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) failing to deliver on some of its promises.

Being in power since the formation of the state in 2014, the TRS is likely to face anti-incumbency but the party is gearing up to seek a fresh mandate based on its performance during the last eight years.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has become aggressive and is projecting itself as the only viable alternative to the TRS, is likely to step up its attacks on the family rule by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR.

Family rule and corruption are the two common key issues that both the BJP and the Congress have been raising for a long time.

Both the opposition parties have been saying that only KCR, his son K.T. Rama Rao, daughter K. Kavitha and nephew Harish Rao were running the state.

They have been targeting the TRS leader for lack of internal democracy in the ruling party and his alleged autocratic style of functioning. They ridicule KCR for not visiting the state secretariat and running the government from his farmhouse.

The BJP, which claims to be the only party free from dynasty politics, has vowed to free Telangana from family rule.

Addressing BJP leaders and workers during his day-long visit to Hyderabad on May 26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had targeted KCR. Terming dynastic politics and family-centric parties the biggest enemy of democracy and youth of the country, he had called for liberating Telangana from family rule.

The saffron party leaders have also been harping on the need for a double-engine government in Telangana. Prime Minister Modi and other BJP leaders repeatedly stated this during the public meetings. They said the BJP governments both at the Centre and in Telangana can fast-track the state’s development.

Both the BJP and the Congress have been targeting KCR for pushing the state into a debt trap. They say a state with a surplus budget in 2014 now has an outstanding public debt of Rs. 3.5 lakh crore.

The opposition parties have also been accusing KCR of corruption in government schemes. BJP president J. P. Nadda, union minister Amit Shah and other leaders termed the TRS government as the most corrupt government in the country. They alleged that the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project became an �ATM’ for KCR.

At a BJP public meeting in Hyderabad on July 3 which was addressed by Prime Minister Modi, both Shah and Nadda lashed out at KCR for corruption and diversion of Central funds.

The BJP president accused the chief minister of inflating the cost of the Kaleshwaram project from Rs. 32,000 crore to Rs. 1.32 lakh crore.

Going a step further, state BJP president Bandi Sanjay stated that if voted to power, the BJP will send KCR to jail.

Sanjay recently said that KCR will have to face the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sooner or later. He had said earlier that the central agencies have kept a tab on KCR’s corruption and very soon they would begin inquiries into the properties amassed by him.

Given the communally sensitive nature of politics in Hyderabad and some other urban pockets, the BJP will also be banking on polarization of votes to bolster its prospects.

Political analysts say the saffron party will make appeasement politics a key issue while targeting TRS for its friendship with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), headed by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

The BJP’s state leadership as well as the central leaders visiting the state have missed no opportunity to target the KCR-led government for pursuing what they call appeasement politics. They have been accusing KCR of handing over the car steering(election symbol of TRS) to Owaisi.

They cite the ongoing implementation of four per cent reservation for minorities in education and employment and the proposal to increase the quota to 12 per cent.

It was in 2017 that the Telangana Legislature passed a Bill to increase the quota to 12 per cent and sent the same to the Centre. However, the Centre has still not given its nod to enhance the quota for Muslims to 12 per cent and also for Scheduled Tribes from 6 per cent to 10 per cent.

Addressing a public meeting in May this year, Amit Shah promised that if voted to power in Telangana, the BJP would scrap the reservation for minorities.

Recalling that �water, funds and jobs’ were the major issues during the movement for statehood to Telangana, Shah alleged that the TRS failed to fulfil its promises and promised that if voted to power the BJP would fulfil them.

At every public meeting that Shah and other BJP leaders address in Telangana, they slam the TRS and KCR for not celebrating Telangana Liberation Day officially. They claim that during the Telangana movement the TRS chief had promised to officially celebrate the day but after coming to power he went back on the promise as he was scared of Owaisi.

The BJP has long been demanding that Telangana Liberation Day (September 17) be celebrated officially in Telangana and it points out that the day is celebrated officially in those districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka which were part of Hyderabad State.

It was on September 17, 1948 that Hyderabad State was merged with the Indian Union following Police Action or the operation by the Indian Army against the forces of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

AIMIM and other Muslim parties have been opposing any celebrations as they say Muslims were massacred during the Police Action. They also argue that there is only one Independence Day for the entire country.

“Two terms of TRS rule, welfarism, and unkept promises will be the most prominent factors in the run up to the next Assembly elections. Aspirations of youth are likely to be one big factor in Telangana, which might decide the outcome of elections,” says political analyst P. Raghavendra Reddy.

The TRS will be seeking a fresh mandate on the basis of its performance during the last eight years. The party claims that Telangana has already become a model state for the entire country both in terms of welfare and development.

The ruling party leaders are confident that KCR will create history as the first chief minister in south India to win a third consecutive term in power.

The developments of the last few months indicate that during the poll campaign TRS will be going all out to target the Centre for creating hurdles in the path of Telangana’s progress.

KCR, who has already declared his plans to play a key role in national politics, has been hitting out at the Centre for imposing restrictions on mobilization of resources by the state.

Last week, KCR boycotted the NITI Ayog meeting as a mark of protest against the Central government’s discriminatory attitude towards the states.

The lack of any assistance from the Centre for various welfare schemes and development projects in Telangana and the communally divisive agenda of the BJP are the key issues the TRS will use in countering the saffron party.

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Pune constable caught red-handed while accepting bribe of Rs 5k, arrested




The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) caught a 48-year-old police constable red-handed in Pune on Saturday while he was allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a person against whom the police had initiated preventive legal proceedings, also known as ‘chapter proceedings’, officers said.

The police identified the arrested constable as Vijay Eknath Shinde, who is posted at the office of the assistant commissioner of police (ACP) of Kothrud division under Pune city police.

A complainant had earlier approached the Pune unit of the ACB alleging that Shinde had demanded a bribe in connection with the chapter proceedings initiated against him, they said. After receiving the complaint, a trap was laid on the campus of the ACP’s office and Shinde was caught red-handed and arrested, officers said.

According to officials, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the police can initiate such proceedings against certain persons if they have reasons to believe that the person is likely to get involved in illegal activities or disrupt peace in any way. Under the chapter proceedings, the police issue notices to such persons and warn them that getting involved in any such activity would lead to punitive action, including a fine or arrest. As part of the proceedings, the person is asked to be present before an officer of the ACP rank.

Inspector Pravin Nimbalkar of the ACB, who is probing the case, said constable Shinde will be produced before the court on Sunday.

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