Back to Africa Check

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.

Nothing but the facts

Get a weekly dose of facts delivered straight to your inbox.


‘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.

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.