6 Nigerians Share Their Experiences With Pyramid Schemes

June 11, 2020

“Money is not peace of mind. Money is not happiness. Money is, at its essence that measure of a man’s choices.” – Marty Byrde.

There are no statistics to back this, but I think every Nigerian knows at least one person who has done a pyramid scheme. Whether directly or indirectly. These schemes have existed for the longest time and they just revamp under new names: Loom, Ultimate Cycler, MMM, Product marketing. Etc.

Curious about people’s direct or second hand experience with these schemes, I asked people to share their stories.

Tola/Female.

“Loom lu mi ni jibiti. I remember I saw it trending and my husband warned me not to do it. He said people hardly call you to make money unless you are the source of that money. So, I wasn’t really that interested. However, I saw a friend talk about it on her status and I was curious. I asked her and she said it was legit and she was next in line to cash out.

She didn’t give me any reasonable explanation but she just kept saying I should join first. That when I join, I would understand.

So, I paid and joined the group. Only for me to see people writing “you guys need to bring people o.” I didn’t even spend up to one hour before I knew it’d be difficult to cash out. That my friend was now saying I should bring at least one person. I didn’t even have strength to drag anything.

For me, it was very painful because I trusted my friend. I thought she’d have opened up to me if it wasn’t legit.

I just summoned the courage to tell my husband because he warned me.”

Mark/ Male.

“Hmmm. On the blessed day I knew Mavrodi, I knew he was an oloriburuku.

I got a call from Abuja that we made a profit of N900,000 from a car we pimped and sold. One of us said he knows MMM and we should do it for a month before inserting the cash into our account to pay school fees.

I no gree but 4 against 1. They did it, it worked. People started paying us o, I was happy. Oya, let’s not do again…

They said lailai. Me I cashed out and paid school fees but those ones went on and on. They were constantly dissing me.

One day, Mavrodi got stuck. My guys went mad. All their investment went down the drain – Almost 4.2 Million naira.

Do you know the funny thing? – They still had school fees of almost 1.2 Million naira to pay. That day, see MMM induced diarrhea. Diarrhea drugs stopped working for my guys; they were just shitting anyhow.

If not for God and my small sense in helping them pay the fees, my guys wouldn’t have written exam. To date, I am their benchmark for doing any business.”

Frank/ Male.

‘M.M.M was reigning in my school at that time. My friends were guiders and they were making money. I couldn’t be looking at my friends making money so I had to join.

I collected my school fees three months ahead of time so we could make enough for flexing – my school fees that time was N450,000 – it was a private school. I did the first month, money came and I was happy.

I put all of it back so I could make it bigger. The aim was to remove my capital after the second round. Some days later, the story started that they are doing system maintenance, and that’s how till today, they are still doing system maintenance with my school fees.

I couldn’t even call home for another school fees and semester exam was near. It was two days to the exam that two of my girlfriends in my class gave me money to pay the fees. Some girls are God sent sha.”

Anu/Female.

“Well, my dad did one of these product marketing schemes. He spent a good portion of his gratuity buying the products. He sold few and definitely didn’t convert anyone into a seller. He ended up using all the products by himself.”

Adeola/Female.

“I did the ultimate cycler. Put 12,500 and get N50,000. So, I did it once and I got my money. I then introduced my mum and cousin to it and they never got their own. That’s how ultimate cycler died. I felt bad about it. Out of guilt, I returned my mummy’s money.”

Jola/Female.

“I did it ohh. Then, I tried as much as possible to resist the urge to join but one spirit eventually pushed me. Let’s say I joined today, it crashed three days after. I couldn’t cry. It was the small money I managed to save that I put into it.

I did it because my friends were all doing it. They had already cashed out like three times – All those times I refused to join because I was scared. After so much persuasion from them, I felt I should do it once and back out. Not knowing it was going to crash eventually.”


This story was edited for clarity. Some details have been changed to protect the identity of the subject.

Glossary:

Loom lu mi ni jibiti – Loom defrauded me.

Oloriburuku – an unfortunate person/person with bad luck.

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