Ponzi scheme

Have you heard about the MMM investment opportunity? 

My sister is being bugged by someone who can only be described as a snake oil seller. He had visited her shop three times in the last month. He was trying to ‘woe’ her over into this ‘incredible’ opportunity of monthly 30% returns on investment. She was told to invest 20k naira to start with.

By the time she finished describing how these guys work, I remembered that I have read about them operating in South Africa and Zimbabwe and there have been number of reports of criminal investigation against them, on the ground that they cajole people to part with their money with a promise of high returns.

From what I read online, they are not associated with any bank, they claim to be social financial institution whereby money collected from A is given to B with a promise that A gets 30% on their investment and the cycle continues that way. Also, another catch is that A is told to invite friends and family to join the scheme, the more people one is able to ‘drag’ in the higher their returns will be.

My only question to my sister was that, since the guy coming to her has been persistent, if for any reason he disappears tomorrow, where do you go to be sure investment is intact?

We all know that it is extremely hard to trace anyone in Nigeria, and if a company told one upfront that they are not a bank nor investment company and no physical address in the country – one is perhaps better off spending the cash on a nice weekend away.

A brief search online reveals that Mr Sergei Mavrodi who is the head of MMM Global went burst in 2003 with a total of $100M of clients’ fund down the drain.

All I know is that if anything sounds too good to be true and it involves money in Nigeria, the best way is to run away, far away from it because there is no protection whatsoever for the general public in matter such as this.

Apparently this program has been going on all across Nigeria for a few years now, thousand of people are already knee-deep into this with expectation of high returns in near future – I wish these guys good luck.

What I know is that there is enough information on the web nowadays to read historical performance of a company or individual, so far there are a lot of controversies around MMM Global and enough information about his founder’s past in Russia.

This MMM Financial Times interview is revealing, those who are still debating on joining the scheme may find this useful.

Against child bride

Sonita Alizadeh’s music video is very powerful and inspiring, makes me think there is hope in the horizon for victims of child bride. Her life’s story is similar to millions of Nigerian girls sold into child marriage. Through the help of her supportive friends, she escaped and now using her music to share her story so other girls can seek help.

I especially like that Sonita’s music is in her local language so the message can out as intended.

Who knows, maybe enough people in northern Nigeria will see this to realise escapees can not be bullied into silence for ever. Eventually, young girls susceptible to this tradition will learn and rebel, I only hope it is sooner than later.


Blame it on the messenger

Imagine if the United States of America sued Nigeria government for the stolen speech? Well, I suppose Nigeria still has enough money left from Abacha’s loot that America needs not worry, they only need to debit our account.

For accounts purpose, the entry likely to read Price for being daft ‘Owo Ọmọ́gọ̀’

Sai Buhari’s 2016 speech:

“We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long. Let us summon a new spirit of responsibility, spirit of service, of patriotism and sacrifice. Let us all resolve to pitch in and work hard and look after, not only ourselves but one another.”

President Obama’s 2008 speech:  

“Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long… So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.”

This is humiliating to say the least. Plagiarising Obama’s speech is the not a very smart thing to do given he is well known for compelling speeches. I bet President Buhari has plenty of speech writers, all they had to do is get out on to the streets to be inspired.

Anyway, I am not sure if Sai Baba has found time to look closely into the two speeches, what I found most shameful was that at 12:07 where Obama talked about the financial crisis and the influence of Wall Street on the economy.

Now, what did the Aso Rock copycats do when they got to that stage? They skipped along! Don’t we have something going on in the country that they could plug in? On top of my head; recession, cattle grazing, Boko Haram etc. People are feeling the persistent high price of goods and yet that is not ‘original’ enough to add?

Just like many of our issues, so many people are already shutting each other up not to criticise President Buhari as the messenger/s were to be blamed. Yeah, right and who do we credit if the ‘Change Begin with Me’ rhetoric succeeded?

5:49 to 6:27

From 11:50 to 12:50 (note the pulse in 12:07 which Nigeria copycats are too lost to replicate because ‘all is well’)

Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill

Earlier this year, Nigeria senators tossed out the proposed bill that was put together by well-meaning Nigerians on the ground that the bill was not in line with Nigeria culture/religion. Yesterday and today, I learnt that the bill did not pass the second reading. From what I read we have a document with significant edits to the one that was presented in March this year. gender_and_equal_opportunities_bill_national

Edits to the original proposed bill means that section 19 of the original document about moving the age of marriage to 18 years old so that both parties involved in a relationship are mature enough to consent to the union is now out of the window.

To that I say; only last week was Alhaji Dangote soliciting for international help to feed the internally displaced people in the northeast. Amongst many things he spoke about was the recent 9 year old girl marriage event he witnessed. Aftermaths of childbride have never being the problem of the north alone, it is all of our problem,

Here is where I am hoping our traditional leaders in the south can pull their weights and  lend voices to important issue.

There are so many things going on in Nigeria that at times when we take a step forward, somehow the leaders tend to find a way to drag some topics that makes one feel we are taking 10 steps backwards.

Here is a new one for today, and reason I hope Nigeria women home and diaspora need to get involved in whatever way that we can to stop NASS as they seem not to realise this is insanity.

As it stands now, my children have Nigeria citizenship because I am a Nigerian, being a woman did not stop that however, if the edited GEOBill got passed, Nigeria women married to non Nigerians will no longer be able to apply for citizenship through their mother.

Why is this new addition?

A few years ago a friend of mine from Senegal shared her story of fighting against similar law in Senegalese constitution that prohibits children having citizenship through mothers. They collected lots of signatures with many influential progressive citizens lending their voices, in the end, Senegalese government did the right thing and as of September 2014, children can claim citizenship from their mother. If we were to cite religion for this new addition – Senegal is 94% Muslim, yet they see the light.

It is shameful enough that in 2016 we are stuck in the past on gender equality issues but to think that the Senate are debating on stripping women of the little human rights should really bother every Nigerian.

Hairdo school regulations

Good gracious!

“Your hair feels like pubic hair.”

With that first line, I thought the article was going to be a good read, but I could not stop asking myself “whose pubic hair.?” One would have thought hair on our head is a good indicator of what lies ‘below’, if that is the case, why on earth is someone making this silly comparison?

Well, this is a serious matter, cultural identity issue.

I am very proud of these outspoken South Africans girls drawing attention to the school hairstyle regulations that they feel didn’t represent black girls fairly – it further shows complacency isn’t an option if we want things done differently.

I hope that the new team to work on amending the rules will include black parents and educators who can be open enough and work together for the benefit of this and generations to come.

The issue of black hairdo is a sensitive subject within black community itself because here is where we are supposed to support one another but it does not always happen that way as we all have different ideas of what makes us look and feel good.

South Africans can reference apartheid, Black Americans can reference white supremacy as the reason blacks in those countries keep their hair certain way – what is our excuse in a country like Nigeria where we are mostly black?

Time is changing, younger generation need not believe the overused excuses that we were ‘forced’ to follow certain rules in order to make our looks acceptable. The fact that the world is a lot closer today makes story such as this relatable to all blacks regardless of where we live in the world.

Adults can and will always chose what they like to wear and they owe no one explanation for their choices, however more often than not, children internalise criticisms when it is directed at things they have no power to change, here is where parents can not fold arms as it hurts those we claim to love the most.

I think school hairdo for girls is a subject that all black parents of girls should be interested in especially for those of us in diaspora. I believe parents owe it to their children to talk about issues such as this putting into considerations why certain rules were set and find ways of encouraging one another on how best to help our girls from very early age and to be involved in PTA so we can bring to lights factors that others may not necessarily be familiar with.

My girls’ school have a few points on hair policy; shoulder length,  hair band colours and hair to be away from face. Simple enough.

My kids swim three times a week (2x at school, the third time outside) this means hair style is kept in a way that they can easily keep it under swim cap, I have seeing enough drama to know I don’t want my kids to be the last one out just because she worries about her hair. I am not waiting for my girls to be upset because someone makes insensitive comment about their hair. If other kids don’t spend half a day on hairdo, we wouldn’t either – life is too beautiful than altering what should be celebrated.

Towards the end of Spring term, as they were preparing for an overnight school trip, my eldest said not to do certain hairstyle for her sister because she had trouble putting on her helmet when she went on the same trip the year before – “that was a very useful information” I told her. That was a safety issue she pointed out, so we decided on a different style and had a test run on a bike helmet.

I really do hope this will awaken our consciousness in order to broaden our knowledge about our hair. I think the rules that matter the most is the ones that we have written about our own hair.