For those whose money was locked up in the unannounced closure of the Ponzi scheme MMM last year, the news of reopening is a source of joy to them.
At least because of the possibility of getting their money back is great relief. This is so because many people almost had hypertension, lives were shattered, weddings were postponed and great dreams brought down.
Some were said to be in a state of coma. Those who had made plans to spend their money for some projects and programmes at the end of the year had those projects postponed aborted. There was panic and great confusion in the country on December 13, 2016 when the scheme froze accounts of members without their preparation for it.
MMM participants woke up on Tuesday, December 13 morning to the heartbreaking news that accounts have been frozen with the possibility that their money may not be retrieved. Fear gripped hearts as many had millions locked up in the MMM account.
Many people were said to have wept uncontrollably, believing that the scheme was gone and their money had disappeared forever. Those who were due to get help could not as it was said that those who were to provide help at that period were not willing as it was the festive period. It was learnt that many were preserving their money for the celebration, hence unwilling to provide needed help to others.
Many of the participants faulted the decision of the management of the scheme, argued that the decision would trigger the downfall of the scheme. They said most people will hence, be skeptical in staking their money while a good number of them said such decision was selfish and would have been better if it was conveyed to members before the scheme was closed.
While the fear and panic continued, MMM management explained that the frozen accounts would be re-opened on January 14, 2017. There were mixed feelings over the announcement of a resumption date. While some, especially members, were consoling themselves with the new resumption date, others were pessimistic and felt that the scheme was gone for good. Their argument was that that was how it froze accounts in other countries but did not return again.
But on Friday, January 13, the cyberspace was again rented as the management of the scheme stood by their words and defrosted the accounts of members. The news rent the air, shaking the internet and has become the subject of discuss in most gatherings across the country.
At the Asaba international airport, it was the talk of the day as most airport officials and other ancillary workers were all happy over the resumption of the scheme. Many of them who thought that their money was already gone following the crash of the scheme last year danced for joy at least to have the opportunity to collect their locked up cash and prepared for a new one. Some of the staff at the airport were warming up to join believing that now the scheme would be stabilized.
Also, a staff of the Delta Printing and Publishing Company, publishers of the POINTER Newspapers, Mrs. Areonbe Magdalene, was ecstatic. A call to her revealed her excitement over the resumption of the Ponzi scheme. When asked whether she would resume with the scheme, she responded in the affirmative because she benefited immensely before the scheme went offline last year.
Victor Ogine, a National Youth Service Corps member is very optimistic that the scheme will never crash forever.
He said: “It’s a nice development that the scheme is back. I never saw it crashing. I believe in the scheme that is why I will continue investing in it. Life in itself is a risk.
“MMM is a 50/50 game, either you win or lose. But the scheme coming back means it has come to stay. As I speak to you people have started collecting money. Life is all about give and take. MMM is about to make the world a better place.”
But Andrew Aki, a journalist in Delta said for the fact that the scheme crashed last year, he is afraid of going back, hence he has left it and joined another scheme he called twinkas, where a participant could receive as much as two fold of their investments within one week.
Ngozi Okpala, a business woman in Onitsha, the centre of commerce in Anambra state, felt indifferent to the scheme. She told NAIJ.com that she is not interested in such business because it does not suit her spirit. For her, it is not a legitimate business.
According to her, she cannot explain the working of the scheme and for the fact that the operators are not known, the business premise is not seen, she cannot participate in such business, undermining the profit participants stand to gain.
Respect Imadu, an engineer, is also sitting on the fence. For him, the scheme is good but it will not stand the test of time. This, he said to mean that certainly at an appointed time the scheme will disappear, going with it plenty of money that could send members to their early graves as a result of the shock wave that will follow.
He described it as robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul and as such it is for greedy people who are not contented with what they have. Besides not being content with what they have, they are people that are lazy and not willing to work to make legitimate money.
A young graduate from the Delta state university, Abraka, who did not want to be named, said: “Bros, collect your money and run ooo. A word is enough for the wise. We don’t know what will happen after this.”
A development consultant, Jide Ojo, said the craze for Ponzi schemes in the country is the result of hunger and poverty in the land as people would readily justify their action by the popular cliché “Life itself is a risk.”
Also, an investment banker, who pleaded anonymity, said that the proliferation and acceptance of illegal schemes by huge number of people in the country is not portraying the country in good light.
According to him, it is also an indication of the level of enlightenment, ethical practice and particularly, the dominating character of greed in the larger society.
“How can a sane person quickly enter into a scheme that the person does not know the people behind it and without address?” he queried.
Well, the internet is thrilling with numerous comments from both their well-wishers who are happy to have their money accessible and those who feel the resumption is a setup.
A member, Mabel Obi, said the real change has come to Nigeria. “While you get help, also provide help. Do not let certified crowd of ignoramuses infect you. This is a community that encourages give and it shall be given back to you but this time round, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall be your portion!”
For Mary Osodi, it is good to be back but she asked: “Who will invest now for people who have invested to get money from the business? This is the big question because many people will be very careful now because they don’t want to fall into the trap again”.
Another big participant in Asaba, Tosin Agbi, a business woman said she will only continue till April and leave the scheme. Her reasons are not far-fetched. The programme will definitely crash.
She said the scheme was actually meant for the poor so as to earn means of livelihood but now the rich men are pouring in and certainly a time will come when it will crash and money can no longer be recovered.