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No, World Trade Organization’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala did not vow to bring investors to Nigeria

IN SHORT: Several Facebook posts claim that World Trade Organization director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said she supported the “harsh” policies of the Tinubu administration and promised to bring investors to Nigeria. But she has denied ever making such a statement.

I am bringing investors to Nigeria using the president’s commendable policies as a bait. Is that too difficult to understand? President Tinubu’s reforms might be harsh now but they would birth a new and prosperous nation … ” reads part of a post on Facebook.

The message is attributed to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian-American economist who began serving as the World Trade Organization's (WTO) director general in 2021. She is the first woman and the first African to hold the position. She was previously Nigeria's finance minister. 

The WTO is an intergovernmental body that regulates and promotes international trade.

The relationship between Okonjo-Iweala and Nigerian president Bola Tinubu has been the subject of controversy and misinformation since Tinubu took office in May 2023.

In June, some social media users accused Okonjo-Iweala of snubbing Tinubu at a summit in Paris, France.

In August, she denied having written a letter attributed to her, claiming she had been threatened after visiting Tinubu in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

Tinubu’s government has been criticised for its harsh economic policies, including the removal of the fuel subsidy, which led to an increase in food and fuel prices.

Similar posts can be found here and here. (Note: See more instances of the claim at the end of the report.)

But did Okonjo-Iweala endorse Tinubu’s reforms and vow to bring investors to Nigeria? We checked.

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Okonjo-IwealaQuote_False

‘Fake message is not from me’

We searched for the statement attributed to Okonjo-Iweala and found that no credible media house reported on it. Such a statement from her, especially as Nigeria struggles with an economic crisis, would've made headlines.

On 17 May 2024, Okonjo-Iweala distanced herself from the message.

“I want to make clear that this fake message is not from me. I am pleased that those who know me instantly recognized this as fake … I want to warn those in the business of manufacturing FAKE messages, that they will not succeed,” she wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The same claim was also posted here and here on Facebook.

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