A WhatsApp message shared in many groups claimed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is disbursing Covid-19 funds to Nigerians.
The message asked Nigerians to call a particular number to get N75,000 from the agency.
The WhatsApp message reads, “CONGRATULATIONS. DUE TO THE COVID19 YOU HAVE JUST WON N75,000 FROM NCDC. CALL MR EMMANUEL 0807352**** FOR CLAIMS NOW.”
Another message reads “Congratulations N80,000 have (sic) been approved by the federal government to you lucky Nigerian due to PANDEMIC. Drop your account number.”
Is the claim true?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, federal state and local governments have been distributing palliatives to citizens to cushion the effect of the pandemic. To complement the efforts of the government, the private sector has also donated billions of naira under Private Sector Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
One of those interventions by the federal government, according to Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, is MSME Survival Fund Scheme.
The funds were disbursed in five modes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in July 2020.
They include: Payroll Support Scheme, Artisan and Transport Scheme, Formalization Support Scheme, General MSME Grants and Guaranteed Off-take Scheme.
She said the federal government had so far disbursed N56.8 billion and individuals were selected based on merit.
Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced a N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) in March 2020 as part of a stimulus package to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy and businesses.
The TCF was to support households and micro, small, and medium enterprises affected by the pandemic.
However, there has not been anytime that the federal government through the NCDC shared cash prices to Nigerians.
On its Twitter handle, the NCDC has debunked the claim of distributing cash to Nigerians, describing it as “fake news”
The NCDC also urged Nigerians to disregard the message as it is aimed at defrauding innocent Nigerians.
Conclusion: Although the federal government has rolled out several Interventions to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic, the NCDC is not disbursing Covid-19 funds to Nigeria. Hence, the viral WhatsApp message is false.