According to director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, three million Nigerians have lost N18b to Ponzi operators. He made this known on Tuesday, at a two-day webinar organised by the Attorney General Alliance-Africa in collaboration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown in many parts of the country last year worsened the situation Yuguda stated.
This capacity building programme will afford participants the opportunity to learn contemporary and innovative ways of combating and curbing the menace of Ponzi schemes in Nigeria,” he said.
“I believe the knowledge gathered from this programme will provide participants new ways of approaching, assessing and tackling the growing problem of ponzi Schemes.
“The pervasiveness of ponzi schemes undermines regulatory efforts in developing the capital market, and also negatively impacts investor confidence.
“Ponzi schemes operate with unsustainable operating models that ultimately lead to huge losses for investors. Following the collapse of the MMM ponzi scheme, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had estimated that over 3 million Nigerians lost about N18 billion Naira. Several other illegal investment schemes have cost Nigerians their assets and life savings.”
Yuguda said the commission’s efforts in addressing ponzi schemes are therefore geared towards investor protection and preserving market integrity, saying the Nigerian capital market should be a safe destination for investors.
In his remarks, Abubakar Malami, minister of justice, said the federal government will clamp down on ponzi scheme operators.
Malami said ponzi schemes are different from legitimate investment opportunities, as the perpetrators take advantage of their fellow citizens.