ON Saturday, January 30, 2021, a viral claim circulating on WhatsApp says the Nigerian Government is giving out N10,500 weekly funds to Nigerians.
The assistance, titled “COVID-19 second wave Support fund programme” encouraged members of the public to take advantage of the funding opportunity by submitting an application through a website.
“Don’t miss this federal government N10,500 weekly grant. It takes few seconds to apply. Don’t miss this great opportunity. Apply here
It adds a website link.
Due to COVID-19 second wave, the Federal Government is giving out a weekly grant of N10, 500 to support Nigerians.
Findings by the FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.
The FactCheckHub observed that the website on the forwarded post, even though it had photos of the Minister of Humanitarian affairs, Disaster management and Social development (FMHDS), Sadiya Umar Farouq, it is different from that of the ministry.
The FMHDS website is fmhds.gov.ng.
The website in the claim seeks to gain traffic by prompting people to share. For instance, after filling the questionnaire, it says “share until the blue bar is full”.
The website is also riddled with several pop-up advertisements for dating sites, bitcoin trading etc. It is unusual for government websites to have commercially driven adverts.
In addition, the website is not secure as it does not have “S” after the “HTTP”, neither does it have the padlock symbol at the URL.
Another red flag the FactCheckHub discovered is that the social media icons attached to the website do not redirect to any social media account; it rather refreshes back to the website.
More so, the contact button found on the website is also inactive; thus, questions the credibility of the support fund.
The website also has a comment section – mimicking a Facebook comment plugin. This is also phony as it does not redirect to Facebook as the plugin is expected to work.
The ministry, however, has special funds such as the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (N-YIF) partly managed by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sport initiated by the Federal Government and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund.
They are all part of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) designed by the Federal Government under the leadership of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy.
Not the first time
This is not the first time that the FactCheckHub is debunking similar claims. The FactCheckHub has debunked similar claims that the Nigerian government is giving out free N50,000 lockdown funds, the National Identity Management is giving out 5GB free data, the Nigerian government is giving N25,000 relief funds , FG giving out grants to support Nigerians etc.
All these claims were false.
They all have the same script of broadcasting the claims via WhatsApp, putting out a phony website link, and asking for multiple shares.
The FactCheckHub had reported that such claims that masquerade as what they are not, usually target topics and areas that a lot of people are interested in, like relief funds, recruitment, free data.
Sometimes, such websites are set up to obtain people’s information for nefarious purposes or to get traffic so that they can sell advertisements.
Going to the government, institution, agency or a company’s social media handles to see if they have such claims can help one avoid falling victim.
A number of such institutions that attract public interest are verified on social media. Such social media handles usually have the website included in the bio.
In addition, Google-searching information using keywords is another way of verifying claims like this; if it is legit, it may have been reported as news.
From the findings presented above, the claim that alludes that due to COVID-19 second wave, the Federal Government is giving out a weekly grant of N1o, 500 to support Nigerians is FALSE.