Back to Africa Check

No, the UK has not recognised Nigeria as an ‘Islamic country’ as video claims

IN SHORT: A video circulating online claims that the UK recognised Nigeria as an Islamic country after president Bola Tinubu took office. This is not true, despite Nigeria attending a meeting there in November 2023 as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The United Kingdom has recognised Nigeria as an Islamic country, according to a video circulating on Facebook. 

The evidence offered is that Nigeria's foreign minister, Yusuf Tuggar, attended a meeting held by British foreign secretary David Cameron with the Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee

The commentator in the video claims the recognition began with Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), presenting a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2023 presidential election. 

The commentator adds: 

Nigeria is an Islamic country according to UK foreign secretary David Cameron. Openly and publicly, in attendance of world Islamic countries, Nigeria is recognised as an Islamic country. Know this and know peace. And I wonder why none of our GOs and pastors are saying anything about it. The Nigerian Christians are not even saying anything about this matter. The Muslim-Muslim ticket was the beginning of this. We know it. We saw it coming.

The APC’s Bola Tinubu, a Muslim from southern Nigeria, won the election and was sworn in as president in May. Kashim Shettima, a Muslim from the north of the country, is his deputy. 

In the run-up to the election, several Christian leaders and politicians protested against the Muslim-Muslim ticket, a deviation from the tradition in which the president has been a Muslim and the vice president a Christian, or vice versa.    

The claim has also been made here, here, here, here and here.

Cameron met with foreign ministers from Arab and Islamic countries on 22 November to discuss the Israel-Gaza war, and Tuggar represented Nigeria. But does this mean the UK has recognised Nigeria as an Islamic country? We checked.

False claim about UK recognising Nigeria as an Islamic country

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Nigeria

The Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee that met with Cameron is a delegation from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC describes itself as the “collective voice of the Muslim world”, which “endeavours to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world”. 

Nigeria has been a member of the OIC since 1986 and has participated in several activities with other members with significant Muslim populations. 

Since Nigeria is a member of the OIC, there is nothing wrong with its foreign minister attending the meeting of Islamic countries with Cameron, Saleh Dauda, professor of political science and international relations at the University of Abuja, told Africa Check. 

“However, it is advisable for the Nigerian government to think twice before attending such a meeting considering Nigeria is polarised along ethnic and religious lines,” Dauda said. 

“It is good that the Tinubu administration has maintained a neutral stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict. In diplomacy, governments must always consider whether its actions on the foreign scene could be interpreted at home.” 

Nigeria attended the meeting as a member of the OIC. It was not an official recognition of Nigeria as an Islamic country by the UK, or anyone else, and had nothing to do with the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket.

Republish our content for free

Please complete this form to receive the HTML sharing code.

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.