On April 23, 2023, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Arewa made two claims on Twitter that there are over 3 million Nigerians in Sudan and the richest person in Sudan is a Nigerian.
She made these claims while responding to inquiries about how Nigerians are studying in Sudan.
Full text of her tweet: “We have well over 3 million resident there. Even more , but let me just put it at that estimate. The richest person in Sudan is a Nigerian” [sic].
The claims have garnered over 463 retweets, 139 quotes and 1,619 likes as at the time of filing this report.
ROUNDCHECK can establish that Abike Dabiri’s claims are in connection with the ongoing crisis in war-ravaged Sudan.
We checked the claims and findings showed that they are incorrect.
The Sudan Crisis
The fighting began with attacks on key government sites by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Airstrikes, artillery and gunfire have been exchanged between the RSF forces and forces siding with Sudan’s de facto leader and army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
Since the fighting erupted over a week ago, nearly 500 people have been killed and almost 4,100 injured, the United Nations said.
Crisis-ridden Sudan is home to about 46.7 million population, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.
Countries that have evacuated citizens so far include the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Spain amongst others.
Nigeria’s Efforts To Evacuate Its Citizens From Sudan
On Wednesday, April 15, 2023, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) commenced the evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan.
NiDCOM in a tweet on April 26, 2023 shared a video displaying buses (meant to convey Nigerians from Sudan) parked in line, and subsequently shared pictures showing Nigerians on the queue for registration.
According to a media report by The Punch, the Nigerian government was said to have released the sum of N150 million $325,824.88 (CBN rate) for hiring 40 buses to transfer its citizens from Sudan to nearby border Egypt; from where they will continue the journey back to Nigeria.
We have well over 3 million residents there. Even more , but let me just put it at that estimate – Dabiri-Erewa
The claim was also reported by an online blog here with the headline ‘Over three million Nigerians live in Sudan, one is country’s richest man’ [sic].
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in a recent interview with Channels Television, said there are over 5,000 Nigerians in the crisis-ridden Sudan.
He puts the Nigerian population figure in Sudan which he claimed to have gotten from the Embassy at 5,500.
When the anchor of the ‘Sunday Politics’, Seun Okinbaloye the programme asked Onyeama the number of Nigerians in Sudan, he said: “The figure that was given today (April 23) was 5,500 by the Embassy“.
We further conducted different keyword searches which led us to a 2018 interview by DailyTrust where the then Sudan’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Ibrahim Bushra, said there are over 5 million Sudanese of Nigerian origin in Sudan.
He said: “One might say the relationship between Nigeria and Sudan is a long standing and deeply-rooted history. As a matter of fact, it is a unique relationship as the two countries do not share border. Yet, blood relations, as evidenced by the millions of Sudanese people of Nigerian origin, convey the strong social and cultural bonds between the two countries. In the past, pilgrims from Nigeria seeking to perform the hajj would trek all the way to Hijaz, crossing through Sudan. Many of those making their way back from the holy trip would settle and intermarry with the locals, given the long distance. That is how we now have approximately over five million Sudanese of Nigerian origin in Sudan.”
However, there is no clarity as to what he meant by the usage of ‘Sudanese of Nigerian origin’, but we can establish from his preceding response that he refers to Nigerians who have settled during their return from hajj and are now Sudanese (either by marriage or registration).
Meanwhile, there is no official record – recent or previous – stating the population of Nigerians in Sudan.
Neither the Sudan government nor any of the related embassies released any data/document showing the Nigerian population in Sudan.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa said there are over 3 million Nigerians in Sudan; a 2018 interview with Nigerian Ambassador to Sudan says the figure is about 5 million ‘Nigerians of Sudanese’ origin; then the Nigerian Foreign Minister quoted the Embassy to have revealed the population figure at 5,500 (of Nigerians in Sudan)
We can conclude that the claim is UNCONFIRMED as there is no official document to show the number of Nigerians in Sudan at this period.
The richest person in Sudan is a Nigerian.
A blog also reported the claim here with the headline: ‘Nigerian Richest person in Sudan says Dabiri-Erewa‘
ROUNDCHECK Findings We conducted a check on Forbes, a global finance, technology and leadership company (also known for rankings) where it was revealed that Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim is the richest man in Sudan.
Who Is Mo Ibrahim, Sudan’s Richest Man
According to the global magazine which ranks everything from world billionaires to colleges, the Sudanese-British businessman, Mo Ibrahim has an estimated wealth of $1.2bn and he is the 2,391st richest person in the world.
He was born on 3 May, 1946 in Sudan, of Nubian descent, an ethnic group whose traditional homelands stretch from Southern Egypt into Northern Sudan. His family moved to Alexandria, Egypt when he was young.
Ibrahim has a bachelor’s degree from Alexandria University in electrical engineering. He returned to Sudan and started working for a telephone company named Sudan Telecom.
He moved to England and earned a master’s degree from the University of Bradford in Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and a PhD from the University of Birmingham in Mobile Communications.
He later sold Celtel to Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company for $3.4 billion in 2005 and he pocketed $1.4 billion.
Ibrahim also chairs the board of Satya Capital, a private equity fund that invests in African businesses, education and healthcare.
Further checks on the background of Mo Ibrahim reveal he has no link with Nigeria as both parents have their origin from Southern Egypt into Northern Sudan.
ROUNDCHECK can conclude that the richest man in Sudan is not a Nigerian as claimed by Chairman of NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
The claim is INCORRECT.
Besides, A Nigerian Does Not Make Top Five Richest Men in Sudan
ROUNDCHECK further checked whether a Nigerian makes the list of top five richest men in Sudan.
Our check revealed that no Nigerian made the list of richest Men beside Mo Ibrahim, here are the top richest men, all of whom are of Sudan extraction:
Osama Daoud Abdellatif
Osama Daoud Abdellatif is a Sudanese businessman and the chairman of DAL Group, a large number of companies based in Khartoum, Sudan.
The company, which has tentacles in food and beverage, agriculture, heavy equipment retail, automobile distribution, education and healthcare, generates annual revenues of more than $1.6 billion.
DAL Food Industries has been the sole bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company brands in Sudan since 2002.
Daoud is from Wadi Halfa City in the north of Sudan. He graduated from Manchester University in 1972 from business management and received an Honorary Ph.D. in Business Management from Sudan University.
Amin El-Nefeidi is the president of Elnefeidi Group, one of Sudan’s most prominent family-owned conglomerates. Over years, Elnefeidi’s tiny local soap shop grew into a larger wholesale outlet with the support of his two brothers, and by the 1970s had diversified into livestock, oil and transportation.
It has annual revenues of more than $400 million and operates in the agriculture, automotive, commercial, food, logistics, mining, and real estate sectors.
Ahmed Abdellatif is the President of CTC Group, a Sudanese private limited group of companies, established in 1956 as The Central Trading Co. Ltd.
With annual revenues in excess of $200 million, CTC is a major importer, trader and distributor exclusively representing some of the world’s major manufacturers of agricultural and construction machinery, consumer electronics, automobiles and fertilizers in Sudan.
Salih Abdelrahman Yagoub
Salih Abdelrahman Yagoub is the chairman of the eponymous Salih Abdelrahman Yagoub Co. (SAY Co.), which he founded in the 1960s.
The company has annual revenues of more than $100 million and operates in numerous fields ranging from industrial construction to trading to retail to services.
ROUNDCHECK findings show that the claim that there are over 3 million Nigerians in Sudan is UNCONFIRMED.
Our findings also show that the claim that a Nigerian is the richest person in Sudan is INCORRECT.