A MESSAGE which has gone viral on Whatsapp says the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is providing monetary palliative to all Nigerians to cushion the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
The message urged beneficiaries to open valid bank accounts with any recognised financial institution and obtain Biometric Verification Numbers (BVNs) so that they can benefit from the relief supports.
“Notice to all Nigerians: All Nigerians with valid account and BVN are advice to contact the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to claim their shotdown [sic] funds to enable them get some of their domestic needs pending when the stay will be over……call 07042835643 for more information.”
The ICIR observed that the message is filled with typographic errors, and reads like typical scam messages from the internet fraudster.
Though the NCDC has been sharing updates on confirmed COVID-19 cases, recovered cases as well as deaths via its verified social media platform, the mandate is restricted to preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies.
The Centre also has a website through which COVID-19 preventive guidelines are shared with the public and relevant stakeholders.
But the Centre does not take part in the distribution of palliatives such as disbursement of money, findings by The ICIR revealed.
Every humanitarian and support activities to vulnerable groups following the COVID-19 lockdown directive issued by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari was mostly carried out by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on behalf of the Federal Government.
Agencies that directly offer these supports to citizens are the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP); National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA); Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs); North-East Development Commission, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons; and the National Agency for Prohibition and Tracking in Persons (NAPTIP).
In April, N-SIP, for instance, listed 2.6 million Nigerians to benefit from the social intervention programme as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
On April 13, President Buhari announced that an additional 1 million beneficiaries should be included in the Social Safety Net through the National Social Register. All these activities were being coordinated by Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
The ICIR called the mobile number included in the message to clarify from the source about, but the person neither answered the calls nor replied text messages sent to the mobile line.
The line showed “Access Bank Scammer” with “32 spam reports” when it was subjected to further check, using the Truecaller mobile app.
The ICIR also reached out to Emeka Oguanuo, the NCDC spokesperson for comment, he debunked the claim.
“This is not within the mandate of the NCDC,” Oguanuo said, adding that the “NCDC does not give out money.”
The claim, therefore, is FALSE.