CDD Newsletter For The Week Ending December 6, 2020

In the past week, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) noticed an increase in WhatsApp messages luring unsuspecting individuals to apply for various “government approved” grants or relief funds.

The messages usually created and shared as broadcast on WhatsApp somehow find their way to other social media platforms with individuals especially Nigerian youths falling for the scam.

One thing the Centre also noticed with this broadcast scam is that there is always an accompanying link to it and clicking on the link redirects you to a page where, you are required to produce personal details such as your name, your bank account details, Biometric Verification Number (BVN) among others.

In addition, interested applicants are urged to share the links and messages to a number of friends or associates on their contact list, obviously, a way the internet fraudsters ensure their broadcast is widely circulated.

Another surprising aspect of the scam is that some messages shared are accompanied by success stories of how the content creator was able to key into the program through the available and earned some huge amount of money.

In the past week, the CDD fact-checked a claim that the Federal Government directed the allocation of grants worth 650,000 to Nigerians through the CBN.

The new thing about this particular claim is that the amount in question is quite high compared to the regular N10,000, N25,000 and sometimes N50,000 relief funds or grants promised by the fraudsters.

To counter the claim, the CDD visited the website of the CBN to find out that the only grant available to Nigerians is the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sport Development in partnership with Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NISRAL) Microfinance Bank.

Another fact-check produced by the CDD is a report by Labarai24 and ArewaBlog which claimed that the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State, Abdullahi Abbas, has been sacked by the party.

The Centre through her investigation found out that contrary to the claim, Abbas is still serving as the party’s chairman in Kano State.

The spokesperson for APC in Kano State, Mustapha Karaye, described the claim as false.

Karaye said, Abbas is still the Chairman of the APC in Kano State.

He said: “Hon. Abdullahi Abbas remains the APC chairman in Kano, none of the party’s exco wrote or informed the party about the chair’s sacking.”

Also, at the peak of the Black Friday sales CDD spotted a letter from the Kano state HISBAH Board barring Cool FM in the state from announcing adverts on Black Friday deals.

The letter titled, “Letter of Notofication” shared widely online claimed that calling Friday – a day assumed to be holy – black is derogatory to Islam.

The letter reads: “Accordingly, we wish express our concern on the Friday as “Black Friday” and further inform you that the majority of inhabitants of Kano State are Muslims that consider Friday as Holy Day.”

The Board further warned the radio station to desist from calling the day black with immediate effect as their member would be monitoring the activities of Cool FM.

An analysis released by the Centre explains that the Black Friday is not unholy as claimed by the Board.

On the contrary, checks by the CDD show that “Black Friday” is an informal name for the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United State of America. “Black Friday” has been celebrated since the beginning of the US Christmas shopping season since 1952.#

Some of the online scams usually shared by fraudsters and countered by CDD include:

COVID-19: Widespread ‘FG’s Relief Collation Form’ is a Scam

FACT-CHECK: FG Not Giving Out N3 Million Grant To Nigerians

FACT-CHECK: Can You Invest N25k and Get N50k Instantly Using winners Pay Investment Platform?

COVID-19: No, Former President Obasanjo never sent N5,000 to all Nigerians

Asides the fact-checks, other major event of the CDD in the past week is a Stakeholders’ meeting on farmers and herders relation which took place at the Ta’al Conference in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

The meeting served as a platform for stakeholders to discuss, share ideas and proffer solutions that would end the prolonged farmers/herders’ conflict in North Central States of Nigeria through the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).

Some of the key stakeholders at the meeting include the Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, who is also the coordinator of the NLTP, the Special Adviser to Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State on Civil Society Organisations and Partners, Munirat Abdullahi, the Nasarawa State Coordinator of NLTP, Abdullahi Musa among many others.