Amidst the warning from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission against the ponzi scheme introduced to Nigeria by Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox (MMM), civil servants in Nigeria are dead ready to continue with the scheme and throw into the trash can, claims of the CBN that the scheme is fraudulent and financially risky.
This is one of the schemes that have drawn the attention of Nigerians against all odds.
The CBN had warned Nigerians to stop patronizing the scheme, insisting that the scheme has no regulation and that there is the possibility of investors losing their money in the long run. Despite the stern warning from the apex bank, Nigerians are however, unwilling to yield to the advice.
Those that participate in the scheme are usually civil servants, youths and business men who find the scheme a ready market for quick money without stress and strain.
Many have attested to it that the 30 percent promised Return on Investment (ROI) has never failed and that at the end of 30 days, the 30 percent of their investment is paid to them as they render help to a member of the scheme, an individual unknown to them.
At the advent of the scheme in Nigeria in early 2016, only very few Nigerians were patronizing the money doubling business, which some refer to as ‘Baba Ijebu‘. But now, the number has grown. The attention the scheme is gathering among Nigerians is more than that ever garnered by any investment firm in the country since Nigeria became a nation.
It is growing like wild fire, arresting all kinds of people who are in a hurry to make money and live above the average life. Members are being drawn into it on daily basis with the allurement of the financial gain that comes their way at the end of every month. Friends and colleagues have consistently persuaded their close associates to key in as it is now the major business in Nigeria.
Some Nigerians have cared less for their monthly salaries, believing that the scheme has come to remove hunger and penury from their families, hence they invest almost all their living and earnings into the MMM.
Investors in the scheme have continuously argued that what government and the regulated financial institutions could not offer them, the MMM has, within the few months of operation in the country, offered them beyond their widest dream and expectations. Consequently, they have no option but to invest as much as they can into the scheme.
The investors have continuously laughed to scorn the threat of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Security and Exchange Commission which have jointly campaigned against the scheme and warned Nigerians against investing in it. But one thing that is baffling, the CBN threat notwithstanding, is the rate of influx of Nigerians into the scheme in the heat of the campaign against it.
Many Nigerians have benefited from the scheme thereby allowing it to attract many more people on a daily basis.
A civil servant in Asaba, the Delta State capital, Mrs. Rose Agbi, told our reporter that the MMM was God sent to Nigeria. To her, at this critical time which many Nigerians describe as ‘Buhari’s government’, she said the MMM has saved many families and improved their fortunes.
She said she has made so much money from the scheme to the extent that if it collapses now, she has nothing to lose.
According to her, “Imagine somebody who invested N30,000 at the point of registration and within a short time he has gained N90,000, if such a one loses his capital, would he complain?” she queried.
For her, the CBN and its affiliate institutions are not benefitting from MMM, hence the campaign against the scheme. She said commercial banks are making massive money from the scheme as all payments are made through the banks.
She added that as at today, she no longer goes begging for money. She said some individuals are angry because people are no longer begging them for money. For her, MMM is not a ponzi scheme because in ponzi schemes old members do not put their money back into the business. She said she would cling to MMM till the world would end as MMM has helped her greatly and improved her life.
She noted that everyday, over 3000 people are joining the scheme following the massive campaigns and the visible benefits from members who have made fabulous gains and have great testimonies to share. To many like her, their salaries are no longer a problem, almost unnecessary. They no longer care for whether government pays in record time or not.
Although the National Assembly had once called for the arrest of the promoters of the scheme in the country, emerging facts indicate that the lawmakers were of the view that though the scheme is unregulated, it has helped their people whom the government had failed or could not help, hence they stepped down on their threat to clampdown on the scheme.
Their stepping down was actually a result of the action of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The national assembly earlier charged the EFCC to go after MMM promoters, the anti-graft agency turned down the directive seeing the MMM promoters as people going about their own personal and private business which it said is not illegal. The agency sees MMM as not an unlawful business, as such it declined going after promoters of the scheme.
Sources at the EFCC were quoted as saying: “Our questions to the National Assembly is: What are we going to charge the promoters of MMM for? What law have they violated? What money has the system stolen? All these and many more are questions that we need to consider before taking any actions. MMM does not have any office in the country where we can go and ask for details about their activities. So our hands are tied.”
The EFCC source also said that “people who participate in MMM are doing so at their own risk. As such, they would have themselves to blame for any negative outcome. It is not for us to tell them what to do with their money. Just as we do not stop people from investing on any legal business venture, we cannot stop people from participating in MMM.”
One Mr. Abel Ogidi, who had not joined the scheme, told our reporter that a friend of his had bought a car through it, hence, at the end of November, he must gather all his resources to join the scheme and begin to make gains for his business. He said he invited a relation of his who seems to be so religiously inclined, hence he declined to give in to the pressure to join.
Many participants of the scheme had fantastic testimonies to share as to why they must continue with the scheme. Mrs. Uredi Doubra, a trader in Asaba, condemned the stand of CBN on MMM. She said “MMM is not a scam. It is a donation community where members have decided to help each other gratuitously, without collateral and provide financial help to each other”.
She said as banks and organizations do aggressive advertising to remain afloat, MMM does same to remain in the market. “The point is, whose money has Sergei Mavrodi stolen. No member of MMM, anywhere in the world gives his or her money to Mr. Mavrodi. When you join MMM, you do not give your money to MMM. MMM founder, Mr. Mavrodi, does not collect a dime from anyone anywhere in the world. We members give money to each other. We pay directly into the others Bank account, so how does Sergie run away with your money?, she queried.
She further said that “Mr. Mavrodi has made his money way back before MMM. His aim and ideology is to fight against the unjust financial system of the world, which makes the poor poorer and rich richer. The Bank takes your money in the pretence of keeping it for you. You keep it there for years. How much do they give you as interest!
“Mr Mavrodi believes no government can make the masses rich, no politician or rich person will come to make you rich. He believes the masses must take the bull by the horn by helping each other and that is why he put this system in place for everyone to take advantage of. Again, Mr. Mavrodi nor MMM does not collect money on his website or from anyone. Mr. Mavrodi is a Mathematician, a programmer and he only set up this system to help the masses. MMM has changed my financial status”.
Kenneth Ejechi of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, sees MMM as a blessing to the poor and the average Nigerians. He said the scheme came to Nigeria when things were getting difficult in the country. “I provided help to someone with N50,000 and within two weeks I’ve received N69000 as help from another person who paid to my bank account. The system doesn’t beg anybody to join, it advises you about the risk and encourages you to help with money that you feel pleased to use to assist other participants”.
Don Andy, an Engineer, who has also benefited from the scheme, said “what about the banks, insurance and pension schemes? Every financial institution is a ponzi scheme or pyramid. The bank is a close pyramid approved by the government. In a bank, customers’ deposits are paid to customers’ who are withdrawing. A depositor ‘provides’ help, the ‘withdrawer’ gets help. If all the customers of a bank withdraw their deposits at the same time, that bank will fold. So, unless all the participants in MMM request to get help at the same, that is when the system can suffer a setback”.
Oluwatoyin Adewale of the University of Lagos, however, is pessimistic. He said MMM will pay earlier investors then the mask will be uncovered and the multitude will realize that they’ve fallen for the one of the most crazy scams of all time. To him, it’s sad. Nigeria is in the grip of deep financial meltdown and the MMM operators are offering them hope which will soon be discovered to be unreal.
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