How Nigerians went from yay to nay over MMM scheme by Ella Chikezie

What many Nigerian’s don’t know is that MMM is a Ponzi scheme that has failed in other countries in the past, and experience is always the best teacher – Excerpt.

In the turn of recent event over MMM announcement of “account freeze”, a lot of Nigerians have been thrown into a frenzy, as panic-stricken Nigerians who were involved in the MMM scheme took to social media platforms to vent their fears and anger.

MMM is a mutual financial aid scheme that was introduced in Nigeria in November 2015. The scheme had by the end of November 2016, about 3 million people signed up to their official website, and is said to have been amongst the top 5 most visited website.

A brief history of MMM;

MMM was established in 1989 by Sergei Mavordi, his brother Vyacheslav Mavordi, and Olga Melnikova. The name of the company was coined from the 3 ‘M’ letters of the 3 founders surname. MMM created it’s first  Ponzi scheme in 1994 after several collapses of the company in the previous years. The company started operation by attracting money from private investors promising annual returns of up to 1000%. MMM grew rapidly, as at the year 1994, the company reported dividends of 1000% and started an aggressive TV ad campaign. Since the shares were not quoted on any stock exchange and the company itself determined the share price, a steady price growth of thousands of percent annually was maintained. This led the public to believe that its shares were a safe and profitable investment.

By July 22, 1994, the MMM office was closed down by the police over tax evasion. Though the company tried to continue the scheme, but finally ceased operations. This led to the crash of the business as many investors couldn’t get their money out. In later years, the company moved to South Africa, this time claiming a 30% monthly return through a social financial network. The group was identified as a possible pyramid scheme by the national consumer commission and accounts of participants were later “Frozen”.

This brings us back to the current case of Nigerian investors who participated in this scheme. According to a message posted via the Twitter page of MMM Nigeria on Monday evening,  just hours before it suspended further payments to participants, they tweeted.

“MMM has always advised that you use your #sparemoney. Use your#SpareMoney and#SpareMoney only. Don’t be unnecessarily greedy,”

Then by Tuesday morning, they put up a disclaimer on their website informing Nigerian participants that there would be a temporary ‘freeze’ on payments to existing participants till January 2017. It blamed the action on “heavy workload” experienced by the servers.

What many Nigerian’ss don’t know is that MMM is a Ponzi scheme that has failed in other countries in the past and experience is always the best teacher.

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation, in which the operators pay a return to investors from new capital given to the operators by new investors. The operators attract investors by offering high rate returns for the investment made, in the form of a short-term return that is usually very high than normal. In this case, MMM Nigeria gave 30% return and 20 dollars bonus to investors, and also a 10% return to people who registered other investors to the scheme.

It is devastating that some gullible Nigerians who were blinded by greed and were in a hurry to get easy money, ignored the forewarning from the Federal government and even the MMM body who advised that they put in spare money. Some people are crying over their money and I can only feel sorry for them because MMM is a Ponzi scheme that was destined to crash sooner or later. So there are no surprises.

I know some MMM extremist would jump in to defend ‘Almighty MMM’ but before you display your stupidity, take a moment to ask yourself these questions.

  1. How will MMM come back by January especially since the government is strongly against this scheme?
  2. Why did they initially advise that people use the spare money if a future crash was not intended?
  3. How do they make their profit?
  4. How come there are no offices with legal MMM personnel to hold accountable?
  5. How will they pay off those that needs help when potential investors have been scared off by the recent activity?

I know this might seem like medicine after death, but I want Nigerians to take a lesson from this and stop being greedy and gullible to such fraudulent schemes masquerading as financial aid programs. The way to financial success is not by investing in Ponzi schemes.


Author’s Bio; Ella Chikezie is a Nigerian scribe from the eastern tribe, a final year student at the University of Port Harcourt, she resides in Lagos with her family and hopes to make a difference in the world through writing. For more thought provoking articles from her, you can visit her personal blog at or connect with her on IG and twitter @itzyogurl_ella


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