FACT-CHECK: How Peter Obi’s claim misleading! Nigeria does not have over 84 million hectares of arable land.

December 7, 2022

Obi’s claim on his twitter handle

By Ajibola Osungbohun


The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Mr. Peter Obi claims Nigeria has over 84 million hectares of arable land and barely 40% of our arable land is cultivated today.


Misleading! It is 34 million hectares or 84 million acres

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In a series of tweets, the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi made this claim on his verified twitter handle @PeterObi. He had tweeted on the concept of consumption to production when he claimed that Nigeria has over 84 million hectares of arable land and that barely 40% of our arable land is cultivated today.

Verified twitter handle of Mr. Peter Obi

At press time, this tweet has generated 1,200 retweets, 4,245 likes and 18 quote tweets. This underscores the mass number of followers who look up to the presidential candidate for information and whose lives can be impacted one way or the other by his statement in the public space. 

For instance, one twitter user,@Michael24861232  had replied to Peter Obi’s tweet, saying: You are visionary, competent and pragmatic. That is why I am campaigning for you in the North. And I will vote for u come 2023 God’s willing you shall WIN. #ObiDatti2023

Even the news media were not left out as the tweet has been published by a number of print and online media including Channels TV, RealNews Magazine among others.

In the tweets, the presidential candidate made it known that his focus would be on agriculture and production-centred growth for food security and export, with more emphasis on exporting finished products instead of commodities and raw materials.

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), arable land is defined as land currently used, or potentially capable of being used, to grow seasonal crops,  including annual crops such as wheat, beans, and rice, but excluding land used for pasturing etc.

But is the claim about Nigerian arable land true? We need to know. Hence, we verify. 


An assessment of probity was performed on this claim, we conscientiously enquired on authority, origin, and authorship who released data and report on figures about Nigeria’s landmass on how many millions of hectares of arable land Nigeria has.

We explored some leading data hubs like the Statista.com  and result shows that Nigeria has an arable land area of 34 million hectares, 6.5 million hectares for permanent crops, and 28.6 million hectares on meadows and pastures.    

According to the Trading Economics report drawn from the World Bank, Arable land (hectares) in Nigeria was reported to be 35 million hectares.

COURTESY: World bank 2020

Substantiating the above discovery, Dataphyta analysis also puts Nigeria’s agricultural land at 70 million hectares, with 34 million hectares as arable land, 6.5 million hectares of land under permanent crops, 28.6 million hectares under permanent meadows and pastures. 

Furthermore, the World Population Review had reviewed the report of the World Bank and the United Nation Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) which revealed the Top 10 Countries with the Most Arable Land in the world. Nigeria is one of them. In the 2019 report, the volume of Nigeria’s Arable lands is put at 34 million of land. 

COURTESY: Arable Land by Country 2022

According to the dataphyte and Statista, total hectares of land in Nigeria is 70 million. What do the findings mean?

  1. Out of 70 million hectares owned by Nigeria, 34 million are Arable, according to United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  2. Out of 70 million hectares, 6.5 million hectares of land are under permanent crops 
  3. 28.6 million hectares are under permanent meadows and pastures.


From multiple sources including World Population Review (2020), Dataphyte, World Bank and Statista, total Arable land in Nigeria is estimated at 34 million hectares, NOT 84 million hectares as claimed by Peter Obi. It is 34 million hectares or 84 million acres.


Rather than say 34 million hectares, Peter Obi says Nigeria’s arable land is 84 million hectares. Hence, his claim is misleading.

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