A message promoting an amateur-looking website titled “National Youth Empowerment Fund Application Form 2022 Is Out” is circulating on Facebook and WhatsApp in Nigeria.
“National Youth Empowerment Funding Application Form 2022 online for registration exercise which is the quickest to apply for is now out for all bonafide citizens only who needs helping hands in their various business and education,” the message reads.
The site’s homepage presents visitors with a bold header: “Presidential Youth Empowerment Fund”. It shows the flags and coats of arms of African countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
It says the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES) is “aiming to create at least 774,000 empowerment opportunities through direct youth empowerment over a period of two years”.
P-YES is a Nigerian public-private partnership run by the office of the president’s special assistant on youth and students’ affairs.
The homepage includes a form where people can supposedly apply for the grant.
But is the site – and the “National Youth Empowerment Fund” – genuine?
The usual engagement bait
A Carbon Dating The Web search reveals that the site was registered on 5 April 2022 at 19:09.
After filling in the application form, the website instructs applicants to share the post with 15 friends or five WhatsApp groups.
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This is simply engagement bait, and typical of scams Africa Check has exposed before.
‘Fraudulent and faceless individuals’
On 5 February, P-YES posted a warning that applicants should only use the official youth empowerment scheme website.
“It has come to the notice of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Youths and Students Affairs, that the activities of fraudulent and faceless individuals trying to defraud unsuspecting Nigerian youths and members of the public through dubious means and claims involving the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme, P-YES programme,” the warning reads.
“Investigations have revealed that the methods being used by these faceless individuals include; the fraudulent claims of payment of grants to Nigerian Youths by directing them to fraudulent websites which is currently in circulation on social media. The P-YES, therefore, dissociates itself and all its affiliates from these fraudsters.”
Africa Check has debunked many online scams offering jobs, grants, loans and giveaways. Read our guide on how to spot them.