Nigeria saw major protests over police brutality and weak governance in October 2020, with young people demanding reforms.
During and after the #EndSARS protests, which attracted international attention, several claims about the country’s development circulated on social media.
One of the most widely shared claims compared national spending on health and education to the budget for lawmakers.
“Nigeria’s healthcare budget is N46 billion for 200 million people. Nigeria’s education budget is N48 billion for 200 million people. Nigeria’s legislator’s budget is N125 billion for 465 people. The politician vs the people,” it read.
We checked if the available evidence backed up these figures.
No reference period is given for this and the other claims. As of 1 July 2020, the UN estimated Nigeria’s population at 206.3 million.
In this budget, the federal government proposed to allocate N380.21 billion to healthcare, or about eight times the N46 billion given in the graphic.
Data from our promise tracker tool shows budgetary allocations to health from 2017 to 2019 were at least N300 billion.
Healthcare consistently underfunded
Healthcare is underfunded in Nigeria, with its share of the budget usually less than 5%, Prof Kayode Osungbade, who teaches health policy and management at the University of Ibadan, told Africa Check.
Healthcare gets just 2.9% of the total budget proposed for 2021. Our promise tracker reveals that its budget has not breached 5% since 2015.
“Budgeting so little for health means there would be poor infrastructure, inadequate supplies and low-quality healthcare delivery.”
The government allocated N541 billion to education in 2018 and N462 billion in 2019, our promise tracker shows.
For 2021, the government has proposed an allocation of N545.1 billion.
Nathaniel Abraham, a professor of educational management at the University of Port Harcourt, said it was a sign of inadequate funding that the education budget was being compared with the cost of the national assembly.
He cited poor funding and low staff morale as some of the challenges facing public learning institutions in Nigeria.
More funding would help “rebuild our schools, train teachers, provide equipment and learning material, and build skilled manpower for the future of this country”, Abraham told Africa Check.
The government has proposed N128 billion for the national assembly in 2021.
The N125 billion claim is N3 billion short of what was eventually approved.
Some lawmakers have argued that reducing the national assembly budget would not make a difference to the economy.
But a leaner federal parliament would have a significant effect, according to Abubakar Abdullahi, a professor of development economy and policy at the Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto.
Given poverty levels in Nigeria, “N128 billion makes a huge difference,” he told Africa Check.
“A minimum wage of about N30,000 a month is yet to be fully implemented; that is N1,000 a day. Do you know how many minimum wages are in N128 billion?”
Abdullahi said that in a situation where most of the population had low purchasing power, more public funds would help strengthen the country’s productive sectors, “which includes education and healthcare”.
The graphic suggests that 465 federal legislators make up Nigeria’s national assembly.
The country has a two-chamber legislature;: the senate and house of representatives. The senate has 109 seats, comprising three senatorial districts for each of Nigeria’s 36 states and one for the federal capital.
The house has 360 members. While the number of federal constituencies varies from one state to another, 358 members represent federal constituencies in 36 states while two represent Abuja.
Altogether, there are 469 federal legislators, not 465.
© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.