Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager for Anglophone West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, has confirmed that search for MMM became the biggest traffic on the top search engine site after Tuesday, December 13.
On the said day, Nigerians participating in the MMM Ponzi scheme were informed that all confirmed subscriber accounts will be frozen for a month. Since the move is similar to what preceded the collapse of the scheme in Zimbabwe – it later collapsed in South Africa too – some of the Nigerians are panicky.
MMM Global closed its Republic of Bitcoin website which promised up to 100% returns on donations earlier this year saying it was a failed experiment.
According to a post on MMM’s Nigeria website, this suspension was necessitated by the system’s “…need to prevent any problems during the New Year season, and then, when everything calms down, this measure will be cancelled. (Which we will definitely do.:-).”
The post from the administration states that the MMM system is experiencing heavy workload as it usually does in the New Year season – which it says is still almost three weeks away – and “it has to deal with the constant frenzy provoked by the authorities in the mass media” hence “it is better to avoid taking risk.”
A day earlier before the disclaimer, a tweet by MMM which says participants should not “be unnecessarily greedy” raised questions about the return of the scheme. Some reports say the tweet was to forewarn subscribers of the pending suspension.
The Securities and Exchange Commission had warned Nigerians against the MMM scheme in July. The country’s central bank did same in September before the lower House of Representatives called its immediate crackdown.
However, on Monday, December 11, a day before the tweet, MMM head, Sergey Mavrodi wrote an open letter to the Nigerian authorities questioning the basis for their constant attack at the scheme. He asked whether they want the MMM System to collapse so that millions of people would suffer even when the Nigerian authorities don’t pay wages to people.
“What will you say to a mother who will have no money to buy food for her child? Will you let her child die for the sake of the higher interests of the economy?
“You say that MMM is a scam. What is the scam here, if all members are warned in advance about all the risks, the possible and impossible ones? They know there are no investments at all. The warning is a red text on a yellow background placed on most prominent place of the website.”
Mavrodi suggests that money in the scheme is redistributed among citizens, taking from those who are richer to poorer ones to restore social justice and accused Nigerian authorities of knowing “nothing about this System yet; you even haven’t understood how it works. Isn’t it completely irresponsible of you to make all these allegations and play with the lives of millions of ordinary people?”
Ahead of the suspension, the scheme had earlier introduced a 20% bonus on all contributions made from December 7 to January 1. To allay the fears of participating Nigerians, MMM Nigeria tweeted that they should “Be rest assured that we will be back, bigger, more sustainable and stable.”
Image from Shutterstock.