Every year poor Nigerians flee poverty and unrest at home. Now, rich Nigerians are planning their escape too. And they’re taking their money with them. Golden visas are the lesser-reported side of the Nigerian migration story. Every year thousands of Nigerians make their way to Europe via perilous crossings over the Sahara and Mediterranean. Now their wealthier counterparts are also making their way to Europe but via a different route.
Dapo has had a “backup plan” for getting out of Nigeria for some time. “I have Maltese citizenship. I can leave for there any time.” Maltese citizenship can be acquired for a minimum investment of 800,000 euros ($947,180) through the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme. He describes it as his “Plan B’’.
A rapidly growing number of Nigerians who have bought so-called “golden visas” or foreign citizenships-by-investment this year. 92 countries around the world now allow wealthy individuals to become residents or citizens in return for a fee, sometimes as low as $100,000 but often several million dollars.