President Muhammadu Buhari while on a one-day visit to Imo State on Tuesday, said Nigeria earned an average of $100 per barrel from 1999 to 2015, but past leaders could not improve the country’s infrastructure.

The president also blamed the Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants for drop in oil revenues.

Verdict: Inaccurate

Full Text: President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday was in Owerri, the Imo State capital to commission some projects executed by the administration of governor Hope Uzodinma.

In his remarks, the president blamed the elite for not thinking hard about Nigeria, adding that though his government has done “extremely well” those who are supposed to market his administration for his achievements have refused to speak.

He also said despite earning so much from crude oil, his predecessors failed to develop the country’s infrastructure.

“To be frank with you, I blame the Nigerian elite for not thinking hard about our country,” the president commented.

“Between 1999 and 2015 when we came in, I will like people to check the Central Bank and the NNPC, the average production was 2.1 million bpd. Nigeria was earning at this time 2.1 million times but look at the state of infrastructure, look at the road…look at the railway, it was virtually killed. Power, we are still struggling.

“But when we came, unfortunately, the militants were unleashed, production went down to half a million bpd. Again, unfortunately, the cost of petroleum went down from $28 to $37.” he said.


In verifying the claim, Daily Trust sourced data from the relevant bodies on Nigeria’s crude oil sales from 1999 to 2015 which the president made reference to.

Checks by Daily Trust, according to data from the Organization of Oil Producing States (OPEC) as well as Statista, a reputable global data analysis platform, showed that Nigeria’s average annual price of crude oil from 1999 to 2015 hovered around $17.4 per barrel which was the lowest to $109 per barrel.

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The lowest price ($17.4 per day) was recorded in 1999 during the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo while the highest price was recorded in 2012 when it surged $109 per barrel during the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

A breakdown by Daily Trust from available data showed that as at 1999, crude oil price was about $17.4 per barrel. It further surged to $27.6 in 2000, and later dipped to $23.1 in 2001.

However, in 2002, oil prices increased slightly to $24.3 per barrel and in 2003, it was $28.1 per barrel and $36.5 per barrel in 2004.

Subsequently, crude oil prices rose to $50.5 per barrel in 2005, then $61 in 2006, $69 in 2007 and $94.1 in 2008.

However, oil prices dropped to $60.8 per barrel in 2009 and in 2010, oil price surged to $77.3.

In 2011, the average annual price of oil had gotten to a record high of $107 per barrel, and later increased to $109 per barrel in 2012, $105.8 in 2013 but dropped $96.2 in 2014.

In 2015 before President Muhammadu Buhari came on board, crude oil prices hovered around $62 to $66 per barrel.

Buhari’s repeated false claim on crude oil prices

Consequently, Daily Trust has observed that this is not the first, nor is it the second that President Muhammadu will be making inaccurate comments on Nigeria’s crude oil prices.

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For instance, in January this year, the president quoted wrong figures of Nigeria’s average crude oil revenue between 1999 and 2014 while speaking of his administration’s effort to build the economy with lean resources.

The president, in the interview aired by Channels TV, said Nigeria’s crude oil production from 1999 to 2014 averaged 2.1 million barrels per day at an average price of $100 per barrel.

“I challenge so many of you to go and check with the central bank or NNPC; the production from 1999 to 2014 was 2.1 million barrels per day average production at the average cost of $100 per barrel,” the president said in response to enquiries made by Channel’s Seun Okinbaloye.

Similarly, in an interview with Arise TV in June 2021, the president made the same false claims.

He stated this while hosting Dr. Reuben Abati, Tundun Abiola and Segun Adeniyi of Arise Television.

In the same vein, in an earlier interview in 2019, most interviews and speeches delivered by the president since 2016 have followed a similar line.

For instance, the president in his speech to Nigeria’s Democracy Day celebration in 2016 stated that the average oil price was $100 per barrel from 2010 till 2014.

In a similar message on October 1, 2016, the Nation’s Independence Day, President Buhari, while addressing the country, modified his statement that oil prices were “an average of 100 USD per barrel over the last decade.”

Conclusion: Following statistics and verifiable data from relevant bodies, Daily Trust concludes that Nigeria’s crude oil figures as repeatedly quoted by President Buhari from 1999 to 2015 are inaccurate.

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