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Clerics condemn involvement in MMM

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Hebrews 13:5 states: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” With the rise and rise in investment in Mavro Mondial Movement (MMM), a ‘help’ movement which many have characterised as a get-rich-quick scheme, as a result of the 30 per cent ‘profit’ assured at the end of the month, many Christians have wondered if investing in MMM is against scriptural dictates. RITA OKONOBOH sought clerics’ opinions on biblical recommendations for such ventures.

When I was initially introduced to MMM, I went to God in prayer to seek for His approval. He clearly told me that I cannot engage in it because those Christians involved in the scheme have had their names removed from the book of life. I was seriously troubled and at the same time afraid as I prayed passionately. As soon as I finished praying, I thought within myself ‘could this voice restraining me be of God?’ Just as I was meditating, another voice came saying; ‘It cannot be of God but rather from the devil trying to tie you down in perpetual poverty for the rest of your life.’ So I quickly neglected the former voice for the latter.

“I decided to try the scheme with 250k. At month end, I was so happy when I saw the return of the investment. Could life had been better than this? God punish the devil that would’ve restrained me from this ‘bumper harvest’. Then I decided to pay my tithe. Just as I was planning to make the withdrawal, God ministered to me – ‘I don’t have anything to do with such money.’ I broke down in tears regretting what I have done in disobeying God. I pleaded for forgiveness of which I know He has mercifully answered. I closed my MMM account but till now I don’t just know what to do with the money God has rejected.

I’m sharing this as a result of the concern for the brethren in this last days. Though some people may decide to [ask] rhetoric questions but I believe [serious-minded] Christians will go to God to also hear from Him.”

The above was a Facebook post by a certain Akande Thomas, who had shared a participant’s experience with the scheme.

When the movement crept into the Nigerian society sometime last year, not a few were cautious about investing in it. There have been similar schemes – wonder banks, network wealth creation movements, among others – and many people had been scammed, sometimes barely weeks after they were convinced to join. However, for the Mavrodi Mondial Movement (MMM), a scheme, which in recent times has been described as a religion in Nigeria, owing to its unprecedented popularity nationwide, there is much to be concerned about.

According to information available from the movement’s website, “MMM is not a bank, MMM does not collect your money, MMM is not an online business, HYIP, investment or MLM programme. MMM is a community where people help each other. MMM gives you a technical platform which helps millions of participants worldwide to connect those who NEED help to those who are ready to provide help, for free.

“How does it work technically? You declare the willingness to give, after which your account will be rewarded with mavro (internal “currency”/scores of the system). Mavros will start growing from the moment of offering the contribution at the rate of 30% per month.”

The above is among other juicy benefits that the scheme offers. Not much work is required and for some MMM respondents who spoke with TribuneChurch, it’s like taking a risk with money, and getting profit without necessarily having to work.

Even with warnings by the Central Bank of Nigeria and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s finance sector, MMM, by all standards, seems to be growing in popularity.This is in spite of various stories of fraud, health challenges and sometimes death that have occurred as a result of investment in MMM.

However, for Christians, there comes the question of if the scheme is something to be wary about, in the light of biblical injunctions

Not just Christians, but all people should desist from such schemes –CAN Gen. Sec

Reverend Musa Asake, General Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria who noted that he wasn’t familiar with the MMM scheme, stated that “it seems the process is like what obtains with wonder banks. Not only Christians, but everybody should stay away from such schemes. Whoever advises people to go through such shortcuts to make money, there is something wrong with it. I wouldn’t advise people to go into it.”

It could be some form of money ritual –Pastor Adebayo

Pastor Z.A. Adebayo of Jesus Clinic, speaking on the implication of participating in MMM and other like schemes stated that “Christians should not be involved in such schemes because they could be using their destinies. It’s possible. For those who promise and eventually give the 30 per cent, what do they get in return? On the surface, it looks like the sponsors of the scheme are not really getting anything, but if it is demonically arranged, they are getting something. There are examples of people who carelessly give to beggars they don’t know, people who look suspicious who eventually turn out to be kidnappers or people involved in all sorts of evil things. I normally warn my people. Whoever is participating in such schemes as MMM should know that the devil has no free gift. When you think you can benefit illegally from such schemes in which there is no work involved, there’s something you are giving in return that you may not know.

“People need to be very careful. It is God that makes people rich in His own time. The poverty situation in the country should not lead us to sell our destinies. I believe there is some demonic undertone. There are companies floated by the devil. That’s why I even usually advise people to pray over things they buy from the market. They must be getting something in return that people don’t know. I would advise Nigerians to desist from participating in such things. There is something secret about the 30 per cent thing that has not been explained to people and, as such, they don’t know the total terms of the contract. It could even be some form of money ritual and you know people who are involved in such things do not live long because the devil has taken something from them in return. The best thing is to work hard for money. I know that many youths are faced with the problem of unemployment as well as lack of money but that should not push people into partaking in such schemes.”

One way or the other, it is fraud –Bishop Adeoye

Bishop Seun Adeoye of Sufficient Grace and Truth Ministry stated that “some people have explained how it works to me but I don’t believe in it. It’s like taking a gamble. I don’t even see it as a clean business especially with the way it was explained to me. How does one account for the 30 per cent that has not been worked for? Where is the money coming from? I believe one way or the other, it is fraudulent. They call it MMM; I call it mo gbe, mo daran,  mo kan ijagban. I don’t think real Christians should be involved in such. There are good businesses that people can invest in that can bring money. I don’t even believe recession should be an excuse to take part in such.”

Reverend Father Gideon Obasogie, the Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, stated that he had heard of the scheme, but noted that he was not satisfied with the techniques.

“Because of the economic situation of the country, one needs to know the source of the profit, that is the 30 per cent. For me, I have advised a lot of people against it because I see it as fraudulent. By the time a lot of people have bought into the scheme, the link may crash. Same thing has happened with similar schemes in which the process breaks down. No doubt, those who started it are benefitting but my concern and fear is that it may not last. I know one or two persons who are members but on whether Christians should participate in MMM, I would need to do more research to really understand how the process works,” Obasogie stated.

‘It has encouraged laziness’

For the Secretary, Christian Youth Network for a Better Nigeria, Kaduna, Mr Simon Topa Ozigagu, “it is wrong for people to be involved in such things. The Bible is clear on doing business and getting percentage in terms of profit. However, this is a frivolous scheme. Where is the profit coming from? It has made many people lazy. People sometimes just buy into such schemes because they appear juicy without even caring about the implications.

“Nowadays, nobody wants to work; everybody wants to do MMM. It doesn’t encourage people, especially youths, to be productive. It also encourages laziness. I have heard of bankers using customers’ money for MMM. There was the example in Kaduna of people who took loans to invest in MMM and in the end, the person entrusted with the investment ran away with the money. These people, some of who borrowed to invest in the scheme, ended up frustrated and some people even died as a result of heart attacks. As such, I strongly condemn it. The money used for MMM can be invested in small-scale businesses. People should learn to start small and God, who sees that you’re working, will bless you.”

Ecclesiastes 5:10 sums up the biblical stand on the love of money, which according to clerics, MMM clearly represents. It states: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.”

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