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


For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.