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Five viral financial institutions rumours we fact-checked in 2023

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In 2023, we verified different misinformation about financial institutions in Nigeria. Below are five times Nigerians misinformed the public about several financial institutions. 

  1. Opay, Piggyvest, and Palmpay are to be removed from fund transfer channels 

Nigerian banks received a circular from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) instructing them to remove non-deposit-taking financial institutions, such as switching companies, payment solution providers, and super agents, from their NIP fund transfer channels.

Twitter (X) user Molaramills shared a picture on her page that reads, “Opay, Palmpay, other non-deposit financial institutions to be taken down from fund transfer.” 

She captioned it: “Nigerian governments are only good at gagging and inflicting pain on their citizens. Opay, Kuda, PiggyVest, and the rest have been through everything for Nigerians, especially during that money crisis when our regular commercial banks are now their problem. They don’t just like it when we are too comfortable with things.”

Our verification showed that Opay, Piggyvest, and Palmpay are not part of the institution listed by NIBSS to be removed from fund forward transfer. The policy enforcement aims to remove Fintechs without banking licenses from banks’ fund transfer channels.

  1. OPay set to crash

A Nigerian Journalist, Kemi Olunloyo, posted on her Facebook page that OPay was allegedly about to collapse and that people should start withdrawing their money from the scheme. This is a result of footage circulating on WhatsApp. 

The rumour carried by Ms Olunloyo’s on Opay crashing was false. We analysed the video circulating on WhatsApp as evidence and discovered it was an old video by TVC News on Aug. 23, 2021. The Bank also debunked the allegation via its social media account. 

  1. The Central Bank of Nigeria has ordered the shutdown of Opay, Kuda, and Palmpay

A viral tweet by Olamide (@DymanFocus) suggests that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, ordered the shutdown of Nigeria’s OPay, Kuda, and Palmpay offices immediately. 

Our finding shows the post is false, as no press release or news story corroborates it. The Twitter user subsequently deleted the tweet.  The official Twitter page for Palmpay Nigeria @palmpay Nigeria also debunked the rumour, assuring Nigerians that they are still in operation and reliable. 

  1. Ecobank rewards its clients in the National Government with $8000 subsidy

A message circulating on WhatsApp claimed that Ecobank was granting a subsidy worth $8000 to clients with the Ecobank National Government.

Participants of the scheme must provide their knowledge about the bank and answer a few questions about themselves to be considered winners of the financial scheme.

When DUBAWA checked, we discovered that the scheme was a hoax. The fact-checker scanned the site on Scamdoc, a web tool that evaluates digital identities, and the analysis showed that the site has a terrible trust index and the owner of the site’s domain name is hidden. Ecobank also announced via their official page that it was a scam. 

  1. Banks are shutting down ICT services due to the election

A broadcast message circulating in WhatsApp groups claims that network providers, bank transfers, and all relevant ICT units would be halted during the 2023 presidential and governorship election.

To verify the authenticity of the WhatsApp message, DUBAWA contacted the corporate communications department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to the spokesperson, Osita Nwasinobi, the message is untrue. Findings confirmed that the purported message telling Nigerians to withdraw their monies from banks until after the election was false. 

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