Back to Africa Check

No, Russia-Ukraine war hasn’t led to UK recession, fuel deals with Nigeria

A message circulating on Facebook claims that the war in Ukraine has put the UK into an economic recession. It adds that British prime minister Boris Johnson is making deals with the Middle East – and Nigeria – “against the growing fuel crisis”. 

The message reads: “Britain in recession, War in Ukraine .. Boris making deals with the middle east to protect Britain against the growing fuel crisis. For Economical reasons ‘GB Incorporated’ will pally with Nigeria to look after their oil trade and continue the humanitarian crisis in Biafra.”

It’s dated 21 March 2022 and has been reposted more than 647 times

Biafra is a reference to southeast Nigeria where there are agitations for the restoration of the Republic of Biafra. The republic existed between 1967 and 1970 and led to the Nigerian civil war

But is the UK in recession? And has the Ukraine crisis caused Britain to look to Nigeria for its fuel needs?


No recession in UK as of March 2022

A country is considered to be in recession if it has two consecutive quarters of decline in its real inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP), according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). GDP is the value of all goods and services a country produces.

There is no publicly available evidence that Britain was in recession as of March 2022. 

The most recent GDP figures published by the UK’s national statistics office were for January 2022. In that month the UK's GDP grew by 0.8%, and was up from the previous month. The office is set to publish February figures on 11 April

A late-February analysis by the IMF showed that the UK’s economic recovery – from the Covid pandemic and the UK’s departure from the European Union – had proceeded faster than expected. The near-term growth outlook was strong. 

The UK’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research predicted in March that the country might be headed for a recession in the second half of 2022 if energy prices remained at current levels. It said a looser fiscal and monetary policy “could stave off the possibility of a recession”.

Prime minister making alternative oil plans

There have been reports of Johnson’s attempts to make energy deals with countries in the Middle East, following the energy crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.   

But we could find no evidence the prime minister had made similar overtures to Nigeria. 

Britain was not in recession as of March 2022. While Johnson may have been courting Middle Eastern oil-producing countries, we could not tie this to Nigeria or conditions in southeast Nigeria.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.