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Did Obasanjo clear Nigeria’s foreign debts, pensions, others?

A Twitter user made some assertions in a tweet where he claimed that the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, serviced foreign debts, paid off…

A Twitter user made some assertions in a tweet where he claimed that the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, serviced foreign debts, paid off a 2.5 trillion-naira pension through the Pension Reform Act, built ten power plants and licensed the use of Global System Mobile Communication (GSM).

The tweet had garnered 691,000 views with over 4,000 likes and 1,623 retweets as of the time of this report.

The comments under the tweet were heated, one comment said the author is being intellectually dishonest.

Another comment reads, “He built 10 brand new power plants are they working? Do you have power now? Did he clear the debt? How much did he use to clear the debt? Which development has ever given that much money to the IMF ever? He cleared the debt, so ridiculous. the UK you’re living in doesn’t have debt, right?”

Others highlighted that it was forgiven debt and not repaid debt.


Claim 1: Did Obasanjo service all foreign debts during his administration?

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration met a debt of $28 billion in 1999 when he assumed office and reduced that significantly to $2.11 billion.

Many reports, however, have said that it resulted from the huge debt write-off by the London and Paris Club foreign creditors, which substantially reduced local and foreign debt by 31.8 per cent.

Also, in 2004 the Centre for Global Development (CGD) noted that it supported Nigeria in securing a relief package from her Paris Club creditors.

The CGD began working on Nigerian debt issues to provide analytical support and to persuade its creditors to agree to an appropriate debt relief package and in October 2005 Nigeria and the Paris Club announced a final agreement for debt relief worth $18 billion.

Based on this verifiable report, we can confirm that the Obasanjo-led administration cleared a large amount of the country’s debt but it left behind $2.11 billion foreign debt. Hence, the claim is misleading.

Claim 2: Did Obasanjo build ten new power plants?

According to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Olusegun Obasanjo established the National Integrated Power Plant and NDPHC to tackle power energy in the country.

Also checks has shown that Nigeria has ten power plants under its Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) they include the Sapele power plant, Olorunsogo power plant, Geregu II power plant, Gbarain power plant, Ihovbor power plant, Alaoji power plant, Omoku power plant, Egbema power plant, Omotosho power plant and Calabar power plant.

The NIPP was established in 2004 by the Obasanjo-led administration which operates and upgrades the above power plants, therefore the claim is true.

Claim 3: Was the N2.5 trillion in pension paid through the implementation of the Pension Reform Act?

The Pension Reform Act 2004 established the National Pension Commission (PenCom) as the body to regulate, supervise and ensure the effective administration of pension matters in Nigeria. The functions of the Commission include Regulation and supervision of the Scheme established under the Act.

The National Pension Commission gives Obasanjo credit for enacting the Pension Reform Act in 2004 and according to a report on their website, it shows that the commission experienced a net growth of N413.90bn as its Net Asset Value (NAV) increased from N10.30trn on September 30, 2022, to N10.72trn on December 31, 2022.

The Pension Reform Act 2004, initiated by former President Obasanjo was able to rake in N12.4trn, which exceeded the N2.6trn deficit the commission had before the reform, making the verdict to this claim true.

Claim 4: Obasanjo licensed the use of GSM

It is almost impossible to speak about the advent of GSM in Nigeria and not attribute it to Obasanjo.

In 2001, the Obasanjo-led administration introduced and licensed the use of GSM in the country.

Investigations by fact-checkers at Daily Trust revealed that three of the claims made are partly true while one is misleading.

This Fact Check is produced in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)

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