Fake website claims Nigerian govt is giving out N3 million Youth Investment Fund

CLAIM: The federal government is giving out N3m grants to Nigerians.

VERDICT: FALSE

FULL STORY: A viral post on WhatsApp claims that the Federal Government is giving out grants to young Nigerians as part of the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).

The forward-as-received message attempts to direct readers to this website with a URL that indicates it’s of the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund.

The post reads: “Dont miss this federal government 3 Million grant. It takes fews seconds to apply. (sic)

“Dont miss this great opportunity.  Apply Here http://nigerian-youth-investment-fund.cf.” (sic)

A screenshot of the post.

VERIFICATION: Firstly, Dubawa observed that the URL does not contain the .gov domain as most Nigerian government websites do or the .ng domain which indicates that it’s Nigerian. Rather the website has a .cf domain which looks suspicious.

Checks showed that the .cf domain is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Central African Republic. It is administered by the Central African Society of Telecommunications.

On a second look, the URL does not contain the hypertext transfer protocol HTTPS://. It, however, contains HTTP:// which indicates that the website is not secure or encrypted.

Checks on the website also showed that upon the submission of personal bank details, each applicant is expected to share certain messages on WhatsApp groups and/or accounts.

A screenshot of the website.

Analysis using ScamDoc.com, a web tool that evaluates the reliability of “digital identities,” shows that the website has 1% trust score.

A screenshot of ScamDoc analysis

Nigerian Tribune, thereafter, reached out to the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development to ascertain the authenticity of the website.

John Akanji, the Special Adviser Media to the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, told Nigerian Tribune that the website is fake.

Akanji also made available to Nigerian Tribune, a press statement signed by the Director of Press at the ministry, Lere-Adams on November 19, 2020, warning Nigerians to be wary of a fake website asking them to pay training fee to access the NYIF.

The press statement reads: “The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development wishes to alert all Nigerian Youth and the general public about a fake link in circulation, inviting youth to access training at a fee.

“The link: https://nyif–edi.mystrikingly.com is FAKE and is not from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.

“Application and Entrepreneurship Development Training for the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) is FREE. To apply log on to: https://nmfb.com.ng/nigeria-youth-investment-fund/

BUT WHAT IS THE NYIF?

Akanji told Dubawa that the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) is a youth fund dedicated to investing in innovative ideas, skills, talents and enterprise of the Nigerian youth and aimed at turning them into entrepreneurs, wealth creators and employers of labour contributing to national development approved by the Federal Executive Council on July 22, 2020.

He said: “The fund aims to reach 500,000 youths annually between 2020 and 2023. Each fund approval will range from N250, 000 to N50, 000,000, with a spread across group applications, individual applications, working capital loans set at 1 year and term loans set at 3 years with a single-digit interest rate of 5%. The funding will be a single-digit facility and payable over a designated period. Some businesses may have longer repayment cycles but again the criteria will be clear once fully developed.”

CONCLUSION: Even though eligible young Nigerians have been applying for grants under the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund, prospective applicants should be cautious of the platforms where they submit their details. Scammers and impostors on websites such as this earlier checked by Dubawa are on the prowl to obtain the personal details of unsuspecting Nigerians.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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