All sorts of schemes

Earlier on this year a friend’s mother sent a text to say she’s in town, wanted to meet up and all. She is a very likeable woman with zest for life, conversation with her is always funny and reflective.

I will call her Ma.

We didn’t get chance to meet so she called introducing me to a scheme to invest in. On the phone I was very polite and said I will think about it.

Admittedly, I don’t know anything about any of these schemes – anything that is not publicity registered private or government, it is shady so I  tera morin ese (walk away)

I later received a detailed text that I only have to put in €275 and then recruit 2 people to join me, the more people we recruit the more our rewards will be. Gold trade is lucrative, will forever be in demand.

I have already indicated on the phone that I was not interested but I really do not want to offend Ma.

I did a bit of research on Swissgolden so I know what to tell Ma other than ‘why on earth do you think I would ever be interested in a pyramid scheme?’

I was quite surprised to see Swissgolden doing rounds in Nigeria. We are indeed a special breed of people, MMM crashed last November and Swissgolden swoops in – same people, same scheme different name.

Swissgolden operates very similar to MMM. You + two = gold points, the process continues like that, as long as new investors keep joining in, old ones will keep getting paid = Pyramid scheme. 

Pyramid schemes are illegal in many countries including the UK.

In Nigeria, everyone is free to do just about anything, as long as you avoid getting government officials involved, you are all okay. My question is if Swissgolden does not honour its promises, who would anyone in Nigeria call to fight corners? Virgin Islands or Russia?

Last year, just before Christmas, MMM had a crash on their system so stopped paying out. There are so many heart breaking stories of people whose money had been bamboozled.

Nigerians are used to disappointment that possibility of crash is not enough to deter people as long as you promise returns that can only happen in afterlife.

With social media, it becomes quite easy to show people lots of unbelievable returns on their investment. This is what Swissgolden is doing, people contacting friends of friends to be involved in schemes they have little or no understanding of.

Ma is not even a Nigerian but told me there are many of ‘my people’ in the meeting she attended in Stratford. I told Ma, since she already has a few of ‘my people’ she is better off sticking with them. Nigerians being part of the group is all that matter, I of one not that kind of Nigerian.

All in good spirit, we both laughed and she got the message. Smart woman.

As Nigeria goes, reading through what people are saying online, they were asked to put in as low as 42k naira, which just go to show that people are being encouraged to pool money together to get on the scheme.

Swissgolden, because the process is based on a very risky pyramid scheme, it means it is a long term investment that requires money that may not be needed in few months or years.

Even if this Swissgolden is indeed a valid investment opportunity, it is definitely not for many of our market people who depend on weekly/monthly earnings for next spending. For example next term school fees for children or replenish monthly stock.

It is sad though that this is exactly the people MMM and Swissgolden are targeting.

A bird in hand is what I say to these type of schemes.

Here is a skit by a local comedian warning people of the danger of diverting school fees to Ponzi schemes – funny, but the message is clear.