By Fatima Zahra Muhammad
The National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu recently said that the present administration under the leadership of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has made Niger State the headquarters of poverty and insecurity.
Ayu spoke in Minna, the capital of Niger State, when he accompanied the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, for the party’s presidential campaign.
His full speech as transcribed from a video from the event reads:
“Niger State today is almost the headquarters of poverty. It is also the headquarters of insecurity. At one point, 10 local government areas in Niger State were occupied by bandits and yet we had a government that promised it would give you change, security and development.”
Verification of Claim 1
Collins Dictionary defines “headquarters” as “the main office, or center of operations and control.”
To verify this claim, the Niger State Fact Check Hub analyzed an array of reports on Nigeria’s poverty index, one of which is the most recent data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s foremost data distributor.
The report analyzed poverty trends in all 36 states and the federal capital territory between November 2021 and February 2022.
Although the report observed that 65% of all poor people live in northern Nigeria, Niger State was not listed among the top five poorest states.
The report listed Sokoto, Bayelsa, Jigawa, Kebbi, and Gombe states as the poorest states in Nigeria.
Another report published by Statista, a leading market and consumer data provider in 2020 ranked Niger State eighth on the list of the 36 states in Nigeria with a poverty headcount of 66.11 percent.
In the course of verifying this claim, no available data was showing that Niger State should be described as the headquarters of poverty as it is not among the top five of the list as it concerns poverty indices in Nigeria.
Is Niger State the headquarters of insecurity?
According to a report by NexTier Violent Conflict, increased incidence of violence occasioned by the activities of bandits and other criminal elements in Niger State saw the state moving from the fifth most violent state in Nigeria in 2021 to topping the list in the first quarter of 2022.
Twelve local government areas were said to be occupied by bandits in Niger State as of 2022, as opposed to the 10 mentioned by Ayu.
A look at the map of Niger state on the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) also revealed that although the state had the highest number of deaths from insecurity in the first quarter of 2022, it has since been surpassed by states such as Zamfara, Kaduna and Plateau states.
The data presented shows that the National Chairman’s claim that Niger State is the headquarters of insecurity in Nigeria is misleading.
This fact-check was conducted by Niger Fact-Check Hub. The Fact-check is necessary to ensure that the electorates in the states are given real facts by politicians during the campaigning period.