By DANIEL Whyte
A FAKE scholarship scheme that claimed affiliation with Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, and described itself as the first online intervention of the government agency has pulled down its website after TETFund released a disclaimer, denouncing it.
The scheme had earlier advertised the call for application for a supposed “2019/2020 National Online Quiz/Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme”.
According to a copy of the advert received by the the ICIR, it announced that “in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) and The National Association of Nigerian Students, the CVC in compliance with Social Responsibility, SR, announces the commencement of the 2019/2020 National Online Quiz and Grants Program for Nigerian undergraduates”.
The said National Online Quiz is open to “Nigerian Youths between the ages 16-25 years” while prizes to be won range from “15,000–500,000” Naira.
Applications were also expected to close on September 28, and prospective applicants were urged to visit www.vicegrant.com for more information and application.
In a statement signed by Gbenga Arolasafe, Deputy Director, Public Affairs, and retrieved from the agency’s official website, TETFund, however, denied affiliation with this scheme and consequently warned the general public and most especially undergraduates to be wary of the scam.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Management of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has been drawn to a website (www.vicegrant.com) claiming affiliation with TETFund under a fraudulent Intervention named ViceGrant
“The operators of this illegal website claim that ViceGrant is an intervention established by TETFund under the TETFund Act and involved in accessing, processing and disbursement of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and tertiary institutions leadership academic grant.”
TETfund described the scheme as an attempt to defraud unsuspecting students of Nigerian universities.
It said, “In their efforts to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, the perpetrators of this scam are currently inviting students to apply for quiz competition, undergraduate grants and post-graduate grants.”
The government agency refuted the alleged affiliation with the supposed intervention and warned the public from falling prey to the fraudsters.
“The general public and students, in particular, are hereby informed that TETFund does not operate any intervention named ViceGrant and has no affiliation whatsoever with the perpetrators of this illegal act,” the disclaimer read.
“They are therefore advised to disregard in their entirety, advertisements being placed by these fraudulent persons either on the website www.vicegrant.com or any other medium concerning ViceGrant as they do not emanate from or have any connection with TETFund.”
It further directed the public to its official website for authentic information about its grants.
Following the disclaimer, checks made by this reporter revealed that the website of the fake scheme has been pulled down.
The domain has since been placed for sale by GoDaddy, a publicly traded Internet domain registrar and web hosting company.
Checks by The ICIR on Whois, a database for verified website registration information, revealed that the site was registered on July 13 by an organisation referring to itself as the “Scholarship Board of Nigeria”. The domain registrant also gave their location as Kano.
In August, a similar case of scholarship fraud was reported in The Nation newspaper. Not fewer than 140 students of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti were duped of N2000 each to make them eligible for a scholarship opportunity offered by a fraudulent JK Consulting Firm.