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FACT CHECK: Is the north’s population 160m as claimed by a northern coalition?

FACT CHECK: Is the north’s population 160m as claimed by a northern coalition?
August 16
17:34 2021

A coalition of 75 northern groups under the aegis of the Northern Consensus Movement (NCM) has claimed the north has a population of 120 million, with additional 40 million Fulani people.

In a viral video, Awwal Abdullahi Aliyu, NCM president, said the next Nigerian president should be a northerner.

The NCM, on its website, describes itself as a non-profit organisation that serves as a bridge for dialogue between the different societal stratification through facilitation of dialogue, communication and information sharing.


Aliyu expressed confidence that the large population of northern Nigeria would determine the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.

“Politics is a game of numbers and we have the numbers. We are 120 million in population from the north, then the Fulani have 40 million in population and if you put that together that will give you 160 million out of approximately 210 million population in the country,” Aliyu said.

“When you take 160 million out of 210 million, what is the balance? About 70 million. I cannot see how 70 million will beat 160 million.


“We are ready for it. We believe in democracy. We know politics is a game of numbers. We know leadership is by ballot box. Leadership is by PVC, leadership is by election and that’s why we are calling our people to come out enmasse to get their PVCs.

“The 120 million northerners should get their PVC. The 40 million Fulani should get their PVC. Put together, 160 million. We will elect another fresh northern president by February 2023.”


Worldometer, a website that provides counters and real-time statistics for diverse topics, puts Nigeria’s population at 211 million, as of August 16.


According to Worldometer, the figure is an elaboration of the latest United Nations (UN) data.

The National Population Commission (NPC) uses Worldometer’s data as Nigeria’s estimated population.

Presently, there is no data detailing Nigeria’s exact population as the last census was conducted in 2006. Nigeria’s total population according to the 2006 census figures was put at 140 million.

According to the data released by the NPC at the time, northern states accounted for 75 million people while the southern states had 65 million.


Let’s probe a little deeper. In 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the estimated population of the country at 193,500,540. The commission noted that the estimate was based on the population census conducted in 2006 by the NPC.

A breakdown of this figure showed that 19 northern states had an estimated population of 100,894,453; 17 southern states had 89,041,961 people and the federal capital territory (FCT) had 3,564,126 people.



The Fulani people are regarded as one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, and are widely dispersed across the region. There are Fulani people in Mali, Niger Republic, Cameroon, Gambia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and other countries.


The exact number of Fulani people in Nigeria is unknown.



According to Aliyu, there are 120 million northerners, plus 40 million Fulani people in Nigeria. He said adding the two numbers will make the total population of northern Nigeria 160 million.

Aliyu added that subtracting 160 million from a 210 million total population will leave the southern part with a population of 70 million.

Aliyu’s calculation is wrong. When 160 million is subtracted from 210 million, the result is 50 million —  not “70 million”.

VERDICT: As things stand, there is a lack of quality data on Nigeria’s population. Presently, the precise population of the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) is undetermined.

Aliyu’s claim that there are 160 million northerners in Nigeria is not backed up by any evidence. Therefore, the claim is misleading.

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  1. Cable
    Cable August 16, 19:40

    Since electoral democracy is a game of numbers the day Nigeria has a true population figure is the day peace starts.

    Good, Lagos State has started its population count.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Gaskiya
    Gaskiya August 17, 08:05

    This is good news! Since the North has population of 120 million non-fulani and they can boast of additional 40 million foreign fulani northerners then they are obviously more than enough to form their own country! Let the south go!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Cprada
    Cprada September 03, 11:53

    Gaskiya, you too sabi response man. I love your submission,

    Reply to this comment

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