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FACT CHECK: Is Borno the size of UK and Sweden as claimed by Osinbajo?

FACT CHECK: Is Borno the size of UK and Sweden as claimed by Osinbajo?
September 01
19:55 2022

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said that Borno state is about the size of the United Kingdom(UK) and Sweden combined or the UK and Denmark.

Laolu Akande, Osinbajo’s spokesperson, via a statement disclosed that the vice-president interacted with a group of Harvard Business School students who visited him at the Presidential Villa on Sunday, August 28.

While interacting with the students who were on an African excursion, Osinbajo said for the international community to better understand the enormity and complexity of Nigeria’s economic and security challenges, it is better to put the size of the country into perspective.

“First, there is a need to appreciate the size of the country, which is crucial to understanding what the issues are.

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“For instance, Borno is about the size of the whole of the UK plus Sweden or Denmark,” the law professor said.

“So, when it is reported that there is violence in Nigeria, it is probably an incident in one remote area of the country, and many people in Abuja and Lagos may hear about it on social media, such is the size of this country.

“When they talk about the economy, we are often compared with smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have bigger GDPs than those countries, it is a huge target market.” 

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Is Borno state bigger in land mass than the whole of the UK and Sweeden together or the UK and Denmark?

The news report was published on several news platforms.

Verification

TheCable checked the size of Borno, the northeastern state created in February 1976 and further subdivided in 1991, when Yobe state was carved out of it. 

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Borno, ironically known as the Home of Peace, to its west is Yobe state. It also shares borders with the Republic of Niger to the north, Lake Chad (and the Republic of Chad) to the northeast, and Cameroon to the east. 

The official website of the Borno state government disclosed that the land mass area of the state is 61,435sqkm, making it the second largest state in Nigeria after Niger state.

Based on data published in 2020 by the National Bureau of Statistics, the  National Population Commission shows that the 2019 population estimate puts the population of Borno at 5.7m people

The United Kingdom includes the entire Island of Great Britain, which contains England, Wales, and Scotland—as well as the northern portion of the Island of Ireland. 

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The 2021 World Bank data reveals that the land mass of the United Kingdom is 241,930 km². 

The UK’s Office of National Statistics, the largest independent producer of official statistics, puts the nation’s population at 67m people.  

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Sweden is located on the Scandinavian peninsula in northern Europe. Its capital has remained in Stockholm since 1523. Sweden occupies the greater part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, which it shares with Norway.  

Despite the country having a 1,000-year-long continuous history as a sovereign state, its territorial expanse often changed until 1809. The 2021 World Bank data reveals that the current land mass of Sweden is 407,310 km² and has a population of 10.4m people. 

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Denmark occupies the peninsula of Jutland, which extends northward from the centre of continental western Europe. Jutland makes up more than two-thirds of the country’s total land area. 

As of 2021, the World Bank data reveals that the land mass of Denmark is 40,000 km² and its population is 5.8m people. 

Borno, a vast expanse of land, is indeed bigger than Denmark and has about the same population as the Scandinavian country, but it is far in size and population from Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Checks by TheCable revealed that the land mass and the population size of the United Kingdom alone are by wide margins bigger than Borno state, let alone consider adding either Sweeden or Denmark.

Borno United Kingdom  Sweden Denmark United Kingdom Sweden United Kingdom + Denmark
Landmass (km²) 61,435 241,930  407,310  40,000  649,240  281,930
Population 5,751,590 67,081,000 10,415,811 5,856,733 77,496,811 72,937,733

Verdict

The claim by Vice-President Osinbajo that Borno is about the size of the UK and Sweden combined or the UK and Denmark is false and highly exaggerated. 



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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