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No, Nigeria’s disease control authority didn’t spend N1 billion on Covid-19 SMS campaign

Posts circulating on social media claim the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control spent N1 billion (US$2.7 million) on sending SMSs to educate Nigerians about Covid-19.

Tweets from 8 April 2020 shared what appeared to be a screenshot of news article headlines claiming the agency said they had spent N1 billion on a Covid-19 awareness campaign.  

Similar messages were shared on Facebook.

Did the NCDC really spend this much money?

NCDC says claim ‘false’

The NCDC told Africa Check that the claim was false.

On 9 April, the agency also dismissed the claim in a tweet. “The headline claiming that NCDC has spent N1 billion on SMS to Nigerians is FALSE. While communication through SMS is a key part of our #COVID19 response strategy, this has been largely provided as in-kind support by @AirtelNigeria @MTNNG @GloWorld,they said.

NCDC director-general, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, urged Nigerians to do all they could to support the agency and the country’s healthcare workers.

He said: “Avoid spreading fake and unverified news on the pandemic, stay safe, keep washing your hands , maintain a safe social distance and hygiene. In the end we will overcome it.” – Motunrayo Joel


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