If there is a sure means of getting the attention of Nigerians, it is any money doubling scheme. Nigerians have shown time and again that they have a high appetite for high-risk, high-returns investment, regardless of the lack of a business model inherent in most of these schemes. Coupled with the continent-high population and sub-optimal economic conditions, most of the founders of Ponzi schemes introduce them to Nigeria as quickly as possible. As a result, over time, Nigerians have lost significant sums to them. These 4 Ponzis are some of the most popular.
Back in 2007, this was the rave of the town especially in South-West Nigeria. With investment as low as N5000 back then, potential investors were promised rewards as high as 100% of their investment within two weeks of investment. The scheme received popular following despite the warnings from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). According to a source, Nigerians lost about N1.93 billion to Pennywise alone between 2006 and 2008. The present value of that amount becomes mind-boggling if the forex issues that have happened since then are taken into account.
Nospectco Oil and Gas
Another wonder bank, this time disguising as an oil and gas investment, Nospectco became popular in 2005. Several Nigerians saw it as an opportunity to reap a big share from the country’s natural resources. However, it all proved to be a sham but the CBN and the SEC were quick to drag the founders to court. At its peak, Nospectco Oil and Gas was responsible for about N49 billion in lost funds, according to the CBN. Most of these claims were never settled.
A new generation Ponzi, Ultimate cycler was one of the most popular Ponzi schemes for 2016. It was set up by a network marketer, who went by the name Peter Wolfing. The scheme required members to pay N12,500 after which they would have another 4 new membes placed under them to provide N37,500 as reward. Members were encouraged to bring other people into the scheme to ensure its continuity. As with all things of such nature, the scheme has practically packed up. Data on the amount lost to Ultimate Cycler is scanty as its competitor, MMM, got all the attention.
Speaking of MMM, Mavrodi Mondial Movement, Ponzis in Nigeria does not get bigger. If you were not engaged in the scheme in 2016, you were not considered a Nigerian. The scheme had no restrictions on the amount to be invested and sourcing additional people was not compulsory to receive a 30% reward. The scheme became so popular that banking on Tuesdays and Thursdays became a headache for Nigerians not involved in the scheme. As usual, Nigerians ignored several warnings from the CBN and the SEC. MMM’a crash is now an open secret. The CBN gave an estimated loss of N12 billion to Ponzis in 2016. You can be sure that MMM is responsible for more than half of that sum.