Claim: A WhatsApp message with a shortened url link directs Nigerians to apply for the Federal Government Jubilee Fellowship in 2021.
While it is true that the Federal Government is organising a Jubilee Fellowship Programme, the link in the shared message is not from the government, the fellowship is open only to Nigerians and the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) has not stated any specific amount as stipend.
Unemployment is a global issue, but in a country with a high youth population like Nigeria, unemployment can be a serious source of concern. Bloomberg estimates that the unemployment rate in Nigeria rose to 33% in the last quarter of 2020. The Federal Government has been making efforts to curb this challenge with various employment and empowerment schemes for its young citizens like the N-Power programme.
In September 2021, a message with the information that the Federal Government had opened a portal for graduates to apply for the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) was shared on WhatsApp. The message states that the programme is also open to foreigners from “Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Cameroon” and that fellows will be paid ₦80,500 monthly and urges them to “apply now.” The message then provided a link for applicants to apply for the scheme.
Members of the WhatsApp group on which the message was shared expressed their reservations that the message might be false due to past experiences and Dubawa, therefore, decided to fact-check the claim.
The Nigerian Government is partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) to provide employment to 20,000 young Nigerian graduates under the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP). The government claims that unlike other similar initiatives “that tend to require some sort of advanced requirement from applicants or lower the entry bar in terms of the kind of opportunities that are available,” the NJFP “does the opposite by inviting qualified applicants across a level playing field without compromising the pedigree of organizations that will play host to successful Fellows.” The programme also promises to place fellows in private and public sector organisations across various industries.
While Nigerians are excited about the opportunities, many are nonetheless wary as they have been deceived previously by offers of fraudulent schemes or those purportedly from the government. In June 2021, a viral WhatsApp message claimed the Federal Government was distributing ₦200,000 grants to businesses while another phishing website (in December, 2020) claimed the Federal Government was recruiting 50,000 youths while yet another (in November, 2020) claimed the Federal Government was giving grants to support Nigerians.
Dubawa clicked on the phishing/fraudulent website- https://tinyurl.com/Apply-FG-Jubilee-Programme severally without success.
Dubawa then verified the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) website and also sought information through ‘Villa Updates,’ a verified Telegram platform of the Nigerian Government’s State House where information is shared to citizens. ‘Villa Updates’ on Telegram has close to 44,000 subscribers.
‘Villa Update’ shared a message on September 14, 2021, confirming the information that applications have opened for the President Buhari launched Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme and that applications will close on October 20, 2021.
The message also states that the application process “does not charge a fee at any stage of the application or work placement process”. It, therefore, discourages applicants from applying through fraudulent websites and advises them to apply “through the website for the programme: www.njfp.ng. The disclaimer was also shared online.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with WikkiTimes to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.