An image shared on Facebook claims the Nigerian government lost 700 billion naira from a COVID-19 relief fund to a fire.
The Nigerian Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning refuted the claim on Twitter.
The Facebook post features a screen grab of an article, which put up the headline “We Lost N700 billion Naira COVID-19 Relief Funds Due To Fire Outbreak – Finance Minister.” The text below a photo of Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed claims she “announced to the nation that the government lost 700billion naira Covid-19 Relief Funds.”
The Treasury House, which houses the Office of the Accountant General, caught fire in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja in early April, according to The Guardian. Igbo Watch and News Mirror, two Nigerian media outlets, reported that 700 billion naira had been lost in the blaze, citing an alleged statement from Ahmed.
However, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning refuted the claim in a tweet that included the same screen grab with the words “FAKE NEWS” superimposed over it. (RELATED: Has Nigeria Received Coronavirus Vaccines From China?)
The general public should take note. @zshamsuna did not grant a press conference or any interviews. No funds were lost in the fire at the Accountant Generals Office which was contained to two rooms. Donations are under N30b to date. This is pure mischief & should be disregarded pic.twitter.com/vknWNWHOHS
— Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (@FinMinNigeria) April 9, 2020
“@zshamsuna did not grant a press conference or any interviews,” reads the tweet. “No funds were lost in the fire at the Accountant Generals Office which was contained to two rooms. Donations are under N30b to date. This is pure mischief & should be disregarded.”
Igbo Watch later issued a correction, saying, “The Version of the Story Falsely stated that Nigeria has lost over N700Billion COVID-19 Fund due to Fire Outbreak. We have now realized that No such Fund was lost and we are taken this step to apologize to our teeming Readers.”
As of press time, Nigeria has reported more than 10,100 COVID-19 cases and nearly 290 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.