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FG yet to start payment of stipends to University, Colleges of Education Students

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Claim: WhatsApp message claims FG has began payment of stipends to University and Colleges of education students

Although the website portrays the real logo of the Federal Scholarship Board, it is not in any way related to the board. The FG has not begun disbursement of stipends to students of tertiary institutions. It is a phishing website to scam unsuspecting members of the country, and the claim is FALSE.  

Full Text

A viral message on WhatsApp messaging app states that the Federal government has approved and began the payment of the federal government bursary to students who are currently studying in any accredited college of education in the country.

The message claims that the Bursary Board will pay N75,000, N50, 000, N40,000, N20 , 000 per semester or term to students in universities, polytechnics, colleges and secondary schools respectively.

The message also directed interested applicants to visit the online registration portal, adding that payment for October has begun for all applicants.

It attached a website for students to check eligibility and for applications.

 Screenshot of the WhatsApp message

On Tuesday 5 October 2021, the Federal Government proposed to pay the sum of N75,000 per semester for undergraduates studying education courses in public institutions and N50,000 for those who enroll for a National Certificate in Education (N.C.E.) programme.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, made the announcement during the celebration of this year’s World Teachers’ Day in Abuja as the Federal Government reintroduces bursary awards.

The Minister also noted that it will liaise with the Ministries of Education in the 36 states including the FCT Education Board, to identify respective courses of study required by each state after which N150,000 will be awarded for undergraduates and N100,000 for NCE students.

Adamu said the fund would be sourced from UBEC, TETFund, and managed by the Federal Scholarship Board.

Beneficiaries will also be awarded a sponsorship to at least one refresher training per annum.

The news was widely reported in the news media like Legit.ng, Punch, Channels TV, Tribune, Vanguard amongst others.

Verification

Dubawa began its verification by clicking the link attached to the message and the search leads to a website with the logo of the Federal Scholarship Board and a form to fill.

The form has a request for name, phone number, name of institution and a continue button.

The next page contains further questions on the type of institution attended by the student, geo political zone of the students, and the age range of the student.

Screenshot of the application page

The page also contains some Facebook comments of purported beneficiaries writing good reviews about the grant scheme.

Screenshot of purported beneficiaries Facebook comments

Afterwards, a page was shown informing that the applicants had been approved for the grants.

“After checking your applications, You have been approved N75,000 GRANTS PER SEMESTER Do Not Share Your Personal Withdrawal Code FG24/21/3034,” it says.

It added that the BURSARY FUNDS will be available immediately after the applicant clicks the “Invite Friends/Group” button and shares the information with 15 friends or 5 groups on WhatsApp so “That They Can Also Be Aware of the BURSARY PROGRAMME.”

It asked for the account details of the student at the end of the page.

Screenshot of the congratulatory page.

Further findings show that the website is not related to the MDA responsible for tertiary education in the country as it does not have its URL extension ending with gov.ng like all MDAs of the Nigerian government. 

The original website of the FG scholarship board is https://education.gov.ng/fsb/  as its original website address.

Screenshot of the FG scholarship board home page

We further analysed the website using Whois,  a query and response tool used for searching databases that store registered users and assignees of an internet resource such as domain name, IP address block and a wide range of other information.

Whois.domaintools.com showed that the website’s main domain was claimoffer.net registered August 25, 2018.

 Screenshot of the domain lookup page

The current IP location is New York, USA. The IP history shows that the IP address has been changed once.

Further findings also revealed the report of the story by Premium Times saying that the registrar and chief executive officer of the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Josiah Ajiboye, a professor, said the implementation of the payment will commence in 2022.

Conclusion

Based on verification, it is evident that the viral message is a scam and a ploy to defraud unsuspecting students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with Sobi 101.9 FM to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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