CLAIM: Fact Checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a WhatsApp trending screenshot of a tweet by @NYSC_Office on February 28, 2020, with the claim, ‘’Corp members allowance for February had been channelled to fighting the new discovered Coronavirus in Nigeria! Your safety comes first, before your stomach’’. The statement according to the trending information was signed by the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim.
FACT: Fact-checkers reviewed the official twitter account of the NYSC, @officialnyscng, which was created in July 2018 with 46.1K followers, to verify the authenticity of the claim in the screenshot. The statement was not found on the official handle. CDD contacted an official at the NYSC, who confirmed the screenshot as false. This collaborated the official statement released by the organization, which is on the official social media platforms.
The rebuttal released by the Scheme dissociated the NYSC from the screenshot trending on social media. The statement reads in part, ’To all intents and purposes, the false representation by the fabricators of that mischievous post smacks of insensitivity. A global issue such as the Coronavirus which represents a threat to humanity should not be reduced to an object of joke…. ’’.
Fact-checkers then reviewed the twitter account peddling the false information, @NYSC_Office, created in September 2019 with 158 followers and found it to be a parody account. A parody account is a fan or commentary account on Twitter where users can share different ideas about a specific issue, person or company. It is most times created for fun, imitating important or famous people or banter.
The tweet by @NYSC_Office has been retweeted by 215 times and liked 343 at the time of writing this report and the screenshot of it is going viral on WhatsApp. This screenshot has been confirmed to have been shared on some NYSC WhatsApp platform, raising concerns among Corp members.
“It had better not be true oo! This one they have not even paid us our February allowee,” some Corp members toldour fact-checker on March 2, 2020.
CDD urges the general public, especially serving Corp members to disregard the message aimed to disinform and misinform Nigerians. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Did NOT USE Corp Members allowee to fight Coronavirus as claimed by the peddlers of the fake news. The twitter handle is a Fake NYSC account that is not associated with the scheme.