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    ‘We used school fees, church money, bank loans for MMM, now we are in trouble’

    In this piece UGOCHI OBIAKOR and ZAINAB ABDULAZEEZ, report that various participants in the MMM scheme used money meant for other things in the hope of making profits.

    She is a petty trader and single mother. Popularly called Mummy Samuel in her neighbourhood, she tries to make ends meet doing all she could to take care of her three children – a boy and two girls. In her desperation to keep her petty trading afloat in the economic recession she went for the popular LAPO microfinance scheme and took a loan of N100,000.

    It was at this point that a friend introduced her to the popular multi-level finance scheme known as Mavro Mondial Movement (MMM). It was a hard decision for her to take because anyone who defaulted in paying the loan could face very dire consequences.

    Mummy Samuel took the loan all the same but instead of putting the money into her petty trade, she put it into the popular MMM scheme hoping that she could reap a profit of 30 per cent every month, amounting to N30,000 on the N100,000 deposit which she could then recycle and then continue to make profit as from the third month. This would have afforded her the opportunity of paying the loan ahead of time; but that was not to be.

    The news coming for MMM early last week was disconcerting. All accounts of participants were frozen. According to the promoters, the step was an attempt to save the scheme from total collapse which they said they had envisaged as the traffic became heavier with the yuletide fast approaching.

    The news was not palatable to Mummy Samuel. She kept groaning and moaning at the same time and she could not concentrate on her chores. A friend who visited her noticed all these and was about to ask her what was amiss. Just then the visitor perceived the smell of burning food in the kitchen and drew the woman’s attention to it.
    Mummy Samuel, lost in her thought had apparently left the food on the cooker unattended to. She had to confess to her friend who could only sympathise with her.

    This among other diverse scenarios are the current state of those who partook in the MMM scheme and had lost millions of naira. If Mummy Samuel put her petty trade loan into MMM, she was not alone. Even students and youths unemployed put various sums of money into it expecting profits’.
    Tunde Adisa was a participant in the MMM scheme. He is a believer in the philosophy of getting and providing help and will not want it to collapse. He also believes that should the scheme resume, he was ready to start again.

    “My creator will never allow MMM to collapse, because a lot of people are benefiting from the scheme. If one would make it in life, one has to be a risk-taker; it is only people that were not involved in MMM that were engaged in rumour-mongering about the downfall of MMM. I strongly believe that MMM will be back by next year January, by God’s grace,” Adisa told Sunday Tribune.
    Akingbade Taiwo, a student was also lucky. He was not part of the MMM, but his friend also a student had been acting strangely of recent because he staked his school fees in the scheme.
    “My concern is not about MMM, but for my friend who has been depressed and acting abnormal since the incident of MMM frozen account because he used his school fees for MMM and was unable to get help before his account was frozen,” he told Sunday Tribune adding: “now he doesn’t know how to tell his parents.”

    Another participant, Joshua Adeosun, does not believe that what has happened was the end of MMM.
    “MMM must not collapse, if it does, I will kill myself because I pledged a huge amount of money,” he said.
    Kemi Adio, a student is now full of regrets. She put her school fees into MMM in order to increase it and afford her the opportunity to be able to pay for her hostel accommodation as well but it all went up in smoke.

    “Had I known, I would not have involved myself in this MMM of a thing. I had my school fees but I could not afford the hostel fees. So, I was advised by my friend to partake in MMM which I did; now I’m one of the victims of the frozen account,” she said.

    If one had been surprised by students using their school fees for MMM, this one might be a shock too. James (not real name) is a church usher and usually takes the money to the bank. He needed fast money and thought MMM might be a great idea, so he tried it but the money is now stuck.

    “I am an usher in the school fellowship. I take the fellowship offering to the bank, so I needed some money and I thought MMM could pay me a huge amount. So I decided to invest the amount of N272,000 which is the fellowship money on MMM. The account has been frozen, I pray God should help me out,” he said.

    Isioma Paul’s case represents another dimension in the MMM story. He collected the electricity bill from a fellow tenant as a student staying off campus. He added it to his school fees, hoping for a bigger profit which never came.

    “I collected the electricity fees from the tenant because I’m staying off campus; so I utilised it for MMM because of the 30 per cent interest so I can add it up to my school fees. Now the account has been frozen which means I’m not getting any help from other participants. All my efforts are now futile,” he said.

    Ayomide Oloyede would not give up on MMM. As far as he is concerned MMM is only on holidays and would soon return.
    “My view about MMM is that MMM is real. Since they started last year, people have become rich through them; they have not crashed, they only went on Christmas holiday. They will resume soon,” he said.

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