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Is Nigeria among top 20 hungriest countries as claimed by Peter Obi?

Claim: The presidential candidate of the Labour Party during the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has claimed that Nigeria is among the top 20 hungriest countries…

Claim: The presidential candidate of the Labour Party during the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has claimed that Nigeria is among the top 20 hungriest countries in the world.

Verdict: The claim is true. According to data from the Global Hunger Index and Statista, Nigeria is ranked 17th among the hungriest countries in the world, ranking 109th out of 125 countries surveyed.

Full text

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party during the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, recently claimed on his X account that Nigeria was among the top 20 hungriest countries in the world.

In a series of tweets to counter those he described as “government spinners” who tried to degrade his earlier remark on the disappointing situation of Nigeria receiving grain from war-torn Ukraine to assist residents of the North East, Peter Obi amplified the dire straits Nigeria is in regarding the inability to feed its populace.

While stating that the government spinners tried to commodify his assertion by saying Egypt also benefitted from the magnanimity of Ukraine during its war period, he reeled out some statistics to conclude that the situation is far better than what is obtainable in Nigeria.

In the tweet, Obi stated, “After my comments on the embarrassing grain assistance which Nigeria received from a war-torn Ukraine, some government spinners, in defence, tried throwing up a comparison, pointing at Egypt, which also got grain from Ukraine.

“In my remarks I stated that such an offer, though aimed at ameliorating the impact of the food crisis in Nigeria, remains awkward to the nation, considering that we, as a nation with more fertile lands and a working population, now receive aid from a war-ravaged nation like Ukraine. Egypt was particularly mentioned by the spinners to have received the same grains from Ukraine long before Nigeria did (September last year).”

“And that Egypt is still dependent on Ukraine for its wheat and much of its fertiliser needs. It is important to clarify that over the years, Egypt imports 60 per cent of its grains, out of which about 22 per cent is from Ukraine.

“The imported grain provides half of the flour that goes into a subsidised bread programme that feeds some 72million Egyptians daily. Egypt, therefore, just enjoys a business relationship with their grain supplier, Ukraine, whereas, in the case of Nigeria, it was an emergency donation to help us fight a hunger epidemic that has resulted from economic mismanagement. To illustrate further, on the Global Hunger Index, Egypt ranks 57th, while our dear nation ranks 109th, out of 125 countries measured.

“So, while Egypt has a hunger level considered moderate, Nigeria is in the league of 20 hungriest countries in the world, with a hunger level considered serious. Egypt, without facing severe hunger, and not in the list of hungriest nations, exported over $9billion of agricultural products in 2023.

“May I also point out that our grain donor, Ukraine, still maintains a hunger level considered low, with a ranking of 44th on the global hunger index, 7th highest grain producer, exporting almost $23bn despite years of war!

“The situation is actually painful because we have all it takes to even surpass Ukraine in grain production if we were a more serious and productive nation.

“The vast arable lands in the North, if put into productive use, will not only give us sufficient food for local consumption, but even the surplus for export.”


Obi, in his earlier tweet, had viewed the grain donation as a national disgrace that was brought upon by bad leadership over the years.

While calling for a national priorities and resource management and allocation as a country, he compared Ukraine with the northern part of Nigeria.

He argued that the North had more arable land than Ukraine, which was able to continue farming during the period of war, while Nigeria left 60 per cent of its land fallow.

But responding to the grain donation, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, claimed that Egypt got 60 per cent of its grains from Ukraine. As such, he concluded that this does not make Egypt a failed state.

Admitting that Nigeria is having challenges at the moment but arguing that it does not make her a failed state, the minister opined that it is normal to receive such donations as “countries exist to depend on one another.”

Idris noted that President Bola Tinubu was aware of the challenges Nigeria is facing and would not shy away from it.


A search on Google about the statistics of countries facing hunger in the world through the Global Hunger Index indicated that in 2023, Nigeria “was ranked 109 out of the 125 countries, with sufficient data to calculate 2023 GHI scores.”

It shows that with a score of 28.3, Nigeria exemplifies a level of hunger that is serious.

According to the index, the result was calculated using four indicators of under-nourishment, child stunting, child wasting, and child mortality to determine the score for each country.

Below Nigeria are Zambia, India, Timor-Leste, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Niger, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Madagascar and Central African Republic.

A report by LEADERSHIP Newspaper stated that the 2023 ranking marked a decline in the hunger level in the country from 103 in 2022.

Nigeria’s hunger crisis

Nigeria is currently going through one of its most severe economic challenges. The skyrocketing rise in prices of goods has seen the country’s rise to 29.90 per cent, thus, eroding the income of workers.

Notably, the hike in prices of food items has put households on the edge. Experts have blamed the rise on the country not being able to produce adequate food that would meet demand.

With insecurity in the northern part of the country preventing farmers from accessing their farmlands, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), in 2023, stated that 26.5million people were in danger of acute food insecurity in 2024.

The report noted that millions of such people were from the North, with states such as Borno, Sokoto and Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at a bigger risk.

The projection of the report began manifesting when residents of Niger State attacked a truck carrying food on February 22, carting with its content.

The incident has left a chain of reactions, with states like Kaduna and the FCT recording same.


The claim that Nigeria is among the top 20 hungriest countries is true. A survey by the World Hunger Index indicated Nigeria is the 17th country with the worst case of hunger among the 125 countries surveyed.

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