CLAIM: The Nigerian Government Is Giving Three Million Naira Grant To Support Businesses

Olakunle Mohammed 

A viral forwarded message circulating on WhatsApp claims that the federal government is giving out three million naira grant to support Nigerians.

One version of the viral post read: “Dont miss this federal governemt 3 Million grant.  it takes fews seconds to apply. Dont miss this great opportunity.  Apply Here  https://bit.ly/2G74Mek.”

Another one read:”Dont miss this federal government 3 Million Grant to support citizens. It takes fews seconds to apply. Dont miss this great opportunity.  Apply Here  https://bit.ly/37PguFJ.”

VERIFICATION

N-VA analysis of these forwarded messages showed grammatical errors as seen where “government” was spelt as “governemt” and “few” written as “fews.”

The fact-checker further clicked on the ‘Bitly’ shortened links in these forwarded messages to confirm their authenticity.

The first link redirected to the website, www.myexpertng.com/grant but the page loaded as an error page, a 404 not found.

The second link redirected to the website bonanzaoffers.xyz and a homepage congratulating the user for standing a chance to benefit from the 75 billion federal government grant which it said has only 9540 available slots from the Federal Government.

Further down the page is Nigeria’s coat of arm, and a section with the following question; “Why do you want to apply for the grant?” with three accompanying options, “To start a new business,” “To pay my bills” and “To support my existing business.”

The fact-checker clicked on the option “To start a new business and a page popped up asking how much the fact-checker would like to apply for among these amounts: ₦200,000, ₦500,000, ₦1,000,000, ₦2,000,000, and ₦3,000,000.

The fact-checker choose a ₦3,000,000 grant and the site queried him on how he knew about the grant with the options: “On Google,” “Through CBN,” “On WhatsApp” or “On Facebook.”

The fact-checker chose “On WhatsApp” and the website page loaded up another page congratulating the user. The new page stated that the application had been received and reviewed and successfully shortlisted to have access to the grant but in order for it to be disbursed quickly, the fact-checker was asked to, “click the green button “SHARE” and send the message to 12 Whatsapp Groups or friends so they can also have access “to this great opportunity to start something in life.”

A statement at the bottom of the page read; “After the sharing, you will be contacted via your email and phone number in order to submit your bank details for disbursement. Thank You!”

Recall that no email or phone number was requested.

IS THERE TRULY A 75 BILLION NAIRA FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GRANT?

A Google search with keywords “Nigeria government 75 billion grant” showed that the federal government just launched two 75 billion naira schemes.

 

One, a post-COVID-19 stimulus package for Micros, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) named “MSME survival fund.” The other one is the “N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).”

The MSME Survival Fund is scheduled to run for three months and started in September 2020. It is handled by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment and targets 1.7 million entities and individuals across the country, with payroll support for the beneficiary’s businesses. The scheme will support 45 percent of female-owned enterprises, 5 per cent for businesses owned by people living with disabilities.

The other one, NYIF Fund is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and spread over for a three-year period to cater to youth-owned businesses and investment needs. Through the fund, an individual or non-registered business could draw up to 250,000 Naira while youth-owned registered businesses could apply for up to 3 Million Naira.

This disbursement scheme is what was referred to on the bonanzaoffers.xyz website.

WHICH WEBSITE IS REAL?

N-VA did a check on the domain myexpertng.com on whois.net which revealed it has been created since April 24, 2020, by a popular phishing site.

Checks on the domain information for bonanzaoffers.xyz using the same platform showed that it had been created since May 8, 2020, by another phishing site.

Whois.net is a popular website used for sourcing domain registration information to verify its authenticity. Whois is a widely used Internet record listing database with readily available contact and registration information for domain names across the globe. You can use the database to verify who registered a domain, when it was registered, with what registrar and contact details of the registrar and registrants.

On Tuesday, October 27, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning tagged one of the WhatsApp forwarded messages as a scam, stating that any requests for applications are only via official channels & websites.

https://twitter.com/finminnigeria/status/1321201725919784960?s=21

However, the finance ministry has stated that applicants can register for the NYIF Fund via this website https://nmfb.com.ng/nigeria-youth-investment-fund/

N-VA confirmed the authenticity of the site posted by the ministry on whois.net, it showed that it was duly registered to a Nigerian microfinance bank and provided verified and authentic information.

VERDICT

 

N-VA checks concluded that the WhatsApp forwarded messages and links contained in it are FALSE. However, the N75 billion federal government fund for MSMEs and youths respectively is TRUE, and authentic registration links can be found on official government handles.

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