Scam alert: Africa’s richest man is not running a Facebook giveaway for youths affected by Covid-19

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Widely-shared posts on Facebook claim that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is giving away money, food and other assistance to 10,000 youths who have lost loved ones to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is misleading; the Nigerian billionaire has committed hundreds of millions of naira to help Nigerians recover from the health and economic effects of Covid-19, but he is not running a giveaway on Facebook.

A Facebook page called Dangote Foundation published a post claiming the billionaire is giving cash, food, scholarships and other items to 10,000 people who send a private message. 

“MY NAME ALIKO DANGOTE  DUE TO THIS SUDDEN OUTBREAK OF YOUTHS THAT HAVE LOST THIER LOVE ONCES I WANT TO HELP THE FIRST 10,000 people to tell me one thing you need from me and I vow to do it for you I promise I will do it (sic),” reads part of the post, which has been shared more than 1,200 times since October 26, 2020.

A screenshot taken on November 16, 2020, showing the misleading post

A similar post was published by the page on the same day, making the same claim but with a different picture. That post has been shared hundreds of times.  

Dangote committed billions of naira to Covid-19 recovery

Dangote, who is also the chairman of the charitable Dangote Foundation, has indeed assisted financially with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

In May 2020, his foundation contributed a total of N1.5 Billion ($3.8 million) to the Nigeria UN COVID-19 Basket Fund, according to UNDP. The basket fund was established to bolster resources in support of Nigeria’s Covid-19 multi-sectoral pandemic response plan.

Dangote also heads up a private sector-led coalition against Covid-19, called CACOVID, which has raised over N27 billion ($70.8 million) to support Nigerians affected by the pandemic. 

A man carrying food items donated by CACOVID (Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Dangote not running a Facebook giveaway for 10,000 youths

The Facebook page claiming to be that of the Dangote Foundation does not represent the actual entity, whose official Facebook page – created back in 2017 – can be found here. According to Facebook’s page transparency information, the impostor page was created on October 26, 2020 – the same day the giveaway posts were published.

A screenshot taken on November 11, 2020, showing page transparency info for the impostor page

We contacted the page and received an automatic response, claiming our message had been received. No further instructions were given. This sort of scam investigated by AFP in the past often leads to further requests for more personal information.

A screenshot taken on November 18, 2020, showing the page's response

There are more than a hundred Facebook pages pretending to be Dangote, but Anthony Chiejina, the spokesman for Dangote Group, told AFP Fact Check that “Alhaji Aliko Dangote does not have a Facebook account yet”. The billionaire communicates with the public on his verified Twitter account

Chiejina told AFP Fact Check that any philanthropic venture by Dangote is made through his foundation – it’s official website can be found here and its Facebook page here

For tips on how to avoid scams like this one, see AFP Fact Check’s story on common Facebook scams in Africa.

CORONAVIRUS