Factchecking Twitter user’s claims that FG earmarked N380bn to prosecute terrorists, gave ASUU N20bn

Factchecking Twitter user’s claims that FG earmarked N380bn to prosecute terrorists, gave ASUU N20bn

A Twitter user claimed ₦380 billion was earmarked in the 2021 Budget Proposal for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects.

He also claimed that ASUU was given ₦20 billion to revitalise public universities in Nigeria.

The Twitter user further alleged, all in one tweet, that the gold deposits in Zamfara state belong to the state while the federal government controls the crude oil in the south-south.

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Verdict

The claim that the federal government earmarked ₦380 billion for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects in the 2021 budget proposal is false.

The second claim that the federal government gave ASUU ₦20 billion to revitalise public universities is mostly true.

However, the claim that Zamfara state controls its gold deposits is false.

Full Text

On Thursday, November 12, a Twitter user named Adeyinka Oluwadamilare (@aomadrey), claimed that ₦380 billion was earmarked in the 2021 budget proposal for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects.

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Oluwadamilare shared a picture indicating that he got the information from TVC News, a private television station in Lagos.

The picture has a caption that reads:

“Budget Defence: N380 billion projection for prosecution of Boko Haram suspects”.
Fact-checking Twitter user’s claims that FG earmarked N380bn to prosecute terrorists

Fact-checking Twitter user’s claims that FG earmarked N380bn to Prosecute Terrorists, Gave ASUU N20bn. Photo credit: Adeyinka Oluwadamilare (@aomadrey)
Source: Twitter

Without citing any other sources, the Twitter user went ahead to make two other major claims, as he attempts to subtly argue the absurdity of budgeting such a huge amount of money for prosecution.

He also claimed that the federal government gave the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ₦20 billion to revitalise public universities.

Lastly, Oluwadamilare alleged that while the federal government controls the crude oil in the south-south, it allows Zamfara State to control its gold deposits, thereby implying an unfair treatment.

The tweet reads:

"N380 billion earmarked in the 2021 Budget for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects. We gave ASUU N20billion to revitalize 90 public universities in Nigeria. Psychological test on our ruling elites is key
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“Zamfara control their gold but FG control crude oil in south south"

Fact-checking Twitter user’s claims that FG earmarked N380bn to Prosecute Terrorists, Gave ASUU N20bn

Fact-checking Twitter user’s claims that FG earmarked N380bn to Prosecute Terrorists, Gave ASUU N20bn Photo credit: Adeyinka Oluwadamilare (Twitter/@aomadrey)
Source: Twitter

Verification

Claim One: FG Earmarked ₦380 billion for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects in the 2021 Budget Proposal

On Thursday, October 8, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2021 Budget Proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly. The proposed expenditure is put at ₦13.08 trillion.

To verify the claim that ₦380 billion was earmarked for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects, Legit.ng checked relevant documents from the portal of the Budget Office of the Federation.

Since the budget is about prosecution, the appropriate section to check is that of the Ministry of Justice.

According to the budget proposal, a sum of N20,277,824,795 (₦20 billion) was allocated to the Ministry of Justice for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure.

For capital expenditure, the ministry got N5,747,771,298 (₦5.7 billion). Added together, the total amount allocated to the ministry is N26,025,596,093 (N26 billion).

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This means that the total amount earmarked for the Ministry of Justice is not even anywhere near ₦380 billion which was alleged to have been earmarked for just one item: prosecution of Boko Haram suspects.

Checking the budget’s breakdown, Legit.ng notes some line items that have to do with prosecution.

In one of the items, ₦350 million was allocated for “prosecution of prison inmates and decongestion of correctional centres nationwide.”

Others are the prosecution of maritime/offshore offences (₦270 million) and prosecution of offenders/improving assets recovery and monitoring process (₦375 million).

While none of these items directly specify the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects, a further check by Legit.ng found out that the Ministry of Justice had disclosed the specific amount it earmarked to prosecute Boko Haram suspects while defending the budget before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Legal and Human Rights Matters.

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According to a report by Premium Times, the solicitor-general of the federation, Dayo Apata told the Senate committee that the ministry proposed ₦2 billion to cover its legal services for the 2021 fiscal year.

The legal services include civil litigation, prison decongestion, trial and prosecution of Boko Haram criminals, administration of the criminal justice system and payment for international legal obligations, Apata disclosed.

Out of the ₦2 billion, about ₦350 million was budgeted for the trial and prosecution of Boko Haram suspects, according to the solicitor-general.

Based on this shred of evidence, the claim that ₦380 billion was earmarked in the 2021 Budget Proposal for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects is false.

Claim Two: ASUU was given ₦20 billion to revitalize 90 public universities in Nigeria

In 2013, the Nigerian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ASUU to make available N1.3 trillion for the revitalisation of Nigeria’s public universities.

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It was agreed that the fund would be released in tranches of ₦200 billion in 2013, ₦220 billion 2014, ₦220 billion 2015, ₦220 billion in 2016, ₦220 billion in 2017 and ₦220 billion in 2018.

While the ₦200 billion was released in 2013 as agreed, the government has failed to honour the agreement to pay the subsequent tranches which have led to several strike actions by ASUU.

In September 2018, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved ₦20 billion for ASUU to revitalise public universities, a far cry from the ₦220 billion which was supposed to be paid in 2014 and the rest of the years as stipulated in the MoU.

This was the only payment the federal government has made since the ₦200 billion paid in 2013, according to ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi.

Meanwhile, ASUU is currently on another strike asking the government to pay half of one tranche, ₦110 billion, as part of the revitalisation fund, among other issues.

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The ₦20 billion released in 2018 is probably the one Oluwadamilare, the Twitter user, was referring to in his tweet.

Thus, the claim that the federal government, under the Buhari administration, has only released ₦20 billion to the universities is mostly true.

Claim Three: Gold deposits in Zamfara State belong to Zamfara State while crude oil in the south-south belongs to FG

This claim has been recurrent on Twitter for a while. It gained more prominence recently when the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, kicked against the recent sale of gold bars by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He claimed that the governor has no right to sell the mineral resources that belong to the federal government.

Omo-Agege said:

“Not too long ago, we saw the Governor of Zamfara State come before the CBN to present a gold bar worth close to about N5 billion. The gold bar was presented for sale to the CBN. Mr. President, our people are beginning to wonder who owns this gold that is being sold to the CBN.”
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However, an earlier fact-check by Dubawa has found the claim to be false.

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According to the report, the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act (2007) vests the ownership of all minerals, including gold, in the Federal Government, just as the Deputy Senate President noted.

The Act vests control of all properties and minerals in Nigeria in the Federal Government and it prohibits unauthorised exploration or exploitation of minerals.

Thus, to mine gold in Zamfara or any other part of the country, a licence must be obtained from the Federal Government through the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the report further explained.

However, contrary to Mr Omo-Agege’s claim, what Governor Matawalle did was to partner with some investors to mine gold in the state and sell to the CBN.

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Simply put, Zamfara does not own the gold but actually purchased it from the licensed operators in the market and sold it to the apex bank.

The claim that gold deposits in Zamfara state belong to the state government is false. The gold deposits in Zamfara and other states and the crude oil in the south-south belong to the federal government.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Legit.ng to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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Source: Legit

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