IN SHORT: A Facebook page is offering cash transfers to Nigerians while posing as the federal government. But Nigerians should tread carefully.
In July 2023, Nigerian president Bola Tinubu announced plans to give out N8,000 monthly for six months to 12 million households considered the poorest of the poor (approximately US$9.50, in November 2023). This came after the fuel subsidy was controversially removed in May.
The initiative was met with public criticism, prompting the president to review the programme.
A 10 October post reads, in part: “Federal Government are using this medium to advocate and campaign to ensure transparency in the disbursement of the planned 8,000 Naira monthly palliatives (period of six months) to 60 million vulnerable Nigerians.”
But is this how Nigerians can register for and receive the new cash grant promised by Tinubu? We checked.
Signs of a scam
The website linked to in the suspicious posts is headlined “THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DISBURSEMENT PROGRAMME” and features a large photo of Tinubu appearing to sign something.
The site instructs users to access the cash transfer by paying a sum of N500. It asks for personal information, including the user’s name, email, phone number, national identification number (NIN) and state of origin.
It also asks for bank details. These are all worrying signs, particularly as our web browser warned us that the website might not be secure when we opened it.
The Facebook page posting the links to the website was created on 9 October 2023. The ministry of humanitarian affairs is responsible for the new scheme so Nigerians could reasonably expect that information would be found on the official page of the ministry and not on a random newly created page. The ministry's page was created in 2019 and has over 100,000 followers.
Programme launched in October to selected recipients
The president launched the conditional cash transfer programme on 17 October. The monthly amount had changed from N8,000 for six months to N25,000 for three months.
The beneficiaries, according to reports, were selected from the national social register (NSR) by the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office. The office’s primary responsibility is to establish a base of accurate data about low-income and vulnerable households in Nigeria through the creation of the NSR.
We found no reports that people could apply for the grant directly or that they had to pay a fee to access the grant. Instead the federal government made clear it would directly identify low-income households that genuinely needed the conditional cash transfer.
Africa Check debunked a similar scam claim about a different website in October. This website is equally bogus.
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