The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on Wednesday said an estimated three million Nigerians invested N18 billion in the Mavrodi Mondial Movement (MMM) ponzi scheme.
Speaking at the ongoing 38th Kaduna International Trade Fair on Thursday, Umaru Ibrahim, managing director of the corporation, expressed regrets that Nigerians patronised the scheme despite repeated warnings from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Ibrahim was represented by Hadi Suleiman, the corporation’s deputy director of corporate affairs.
“The Ponzi scheme is the phenomenon of illegal fund managers, popularly called ‘Wonder Banks’, which have continued to defraud unsuspecting members of the public of their hard earned money,” he said.
“This phenomenon has been a source for concern because despite our repeated warnings over the years, some members of the public have continued to fall victims of their fraudulent practices.
“We would like to reiterate the fact that these fund managers are illegal as they are neither licensed by the CBN to take deposits from members of the public, nor are those who patronise them covered by the NDIC deposit insurance scheme.
“I want to also draw the attention of some cooperative society which often go beyond their primary mandate by accepting contributions from members as cooperative societies are only recognised to mobilise savings from their members.”
He said the use of Bitcoin, Ripples, Litecoin, and Onecoin as currencies for medium of exchange are not authorised by the CBN.
Suleiman also advised Nigerians to shun dubious financial schemes.
He said the corporation had established a 24 hour help desk with a toll free telephone line: 080063424357 to make complaints.
“Depositors and stakeholders are therefore, advised to make effective use of the free telephone line in making their enquiries or laying genuine complaints to NDIC on sharp practices being perpetrated by their banks” he said.
Trouble started for MMM participants when those behind it placed a month ban on withdrawals in December.
The scheme returned in January, but there have been different excuses.
In February, Chuddy Ugorji, MMM number one guider, fled the country with his wife, Amaka.
They reportedly relocated to Philippines.