Claim: A viral WhatsApp message asks Nigerians to apply for a ₦200,000 business grant from the Federal Government, which will be paid into their bank accounts within 48 hours.
This message is false and misleading. The Federal Government is not paying ₦200,000 into the account of Nigerians as business grants.
Mischievous elements have continued to prey on people’s desires for freebies by deceiving them that the federal government is distributing palliatives to citizens, providing endowments to youths, or giving grants to small scale business owners.
A viral WhatsApp message early June, 2021 asks Nigerians “not to miss this ₦200,000 grant” the Federal Government is giving to citizens, it urges recipients to apply and assures them their bank accounts would be credited with the said amount “WITHIN 48 HOURS”.
Screenshot of the WhatsApp message:
This is not the first time that Dubawa will be investigating false claims about the Federal Government, its institutions, or notable Nigerians giving grants to citizens. For example, there was a claim in November, 2020 that the federal government was giving out 3 million naira grants to support Nigerians, which Dubawa verified to be false. In February, 2021, Dubawa also proved that Dangote was not offering empowerment grants to members of the public while on June 1, 2021, Dubawa disproved the claims that Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) was offering Nigerian students ₦20,000 grants.
To assure citizens that this claim is genuine and deserves their attention, Dubawa clicked on the application link in the message. The bit.ly link changed to another website, which welcomes applicants, assuring them that they are just 30 seconds away from getting their “₦200,000 Africa Business grant disbursed!” We noted that the title of the grant has suddenly changed from “Federal Government grant” to “Africa Business grant” without stating which African country’s government and/or institution would be disbursing the money. There is also an icon that applicants can also click to check the status of their applications.
Applicants are expected to key in their first name, surname, gender, email address, mobile telephone number, and country of origin. This writer notes that even though the title of the fund was initially Nigerian and then later changed to African, a list of almost all countries of the world popped up when this writer tried to key in her country of origin.
Applicants are also expected to select ‘Fund Type’ and there is a ‘Grant’ option as well as a ‘Loan’ option, even though the call was for a grant.
Image of the welcome page on the site:
This writer filled in fake bio-details to be able to proceed and when she clicked submit, a new page which required her to enter her bank account number, bank name and account name came up. Again, she proceeded to fill in fake details in order to proceed. She finally submitted the application.
Image of application page requesting bank details:
Thereafter, a congratulatory message appeared, informing her that her application had been received and she had been assigned a ‘GRANT MANAGER’ who would manage her request. She was encouraged to inform friends about the opportunity.
Image of the congratulatory page:
When she tried to click on the ‘SHOW MY GRANT MANAGER’ link without sharing the link to friends and WhatsApp groups, a message popped up informing her that she had not shared the message and that she needed to share it to a “Minimum 15 group or 15 friends” before completing the application.
Image urging applicants to share link:
Who is updateinnigeria.com?
Dubawa further investigated the website making the ‘₦200,000 Federal Government’ claim using Domainbigdata and discovered that the website was just recently registered on May 25, 2021 for an initial period of one year and the site expires on May 25, 2022.
Information about updateinnigeria.com from Domainbigdata:
Dnslytics, a tool used in accessing details of websites, showed that updateinnigeria.com is not listed in the top million list of Alexa nor in the DMOZ directory.
Information about updateinnigeria.com from Dnslytics:
Whois.com, a tool for domain name search, also notes that the website is hosted on ns1.contabo.net, ns2.contabo.net and ns3.contabo.net servers in Nigeria and the email address of the registrant is email@example.com
Information about updateinnigeria from Whois.com:
Dubawa also searched Nigeria’s federal government social media handles and did not see any information about a ₦200,000 grant for businesses.
The claim by updateinnigeria.com that the federal government is giving out ₦200,000 grant to businesses is false. None of the nation’s public information platforms has mentioned anything about this offer.