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RICH NIGERIANS BUYING CITIZENSHIP OVERSEAS.

Every year an increasing number of Nigerians flee poverty and unrest at home. Now, rich Nigerians are planning their escape too. And they’re taking their money with them.

Dapo has spent too long at home in Lagos, Nigeria. Back in October, protests against the SARS police unit kept him from going to his office. “First, we were told to stay at home because of the coronavirus. Then this,” he says.

A wealthy Nigerian, Dapo, who is in his late 30s, does not want to make himself identifiable by giving his surname and age, lest it draw unwanted attention.

He has had a “backup plan” for getting out of Nigeria for some time, he says. “I have Maltese citizenship. I can leave for there any time.” With one small obstacle – a 14-day quarantine upon arrival – Dapo could be permanently in Malta any time he pleases. He is not planning to go imminently, but describes it as his “plan b’’.

Dapo is one of a rapidly growing number of Nigerians who have bought so-called “golden visas” or foreign citizenships-by-investment this year. In his case it was Malta, the Mediterranean island where citizenship can be acquired for a minimum investment of 800,000 euros ($947,180) through the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme.

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