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25 Katsina based millionaires relocate to Niger Republic over fear of kidnapping

25 Katsina based millionaires relocate to Niger Republic over fear of kidnapping

Many Nigerians residing in Katsina State have fled to neighbouring Niger Republic to escape persistent attacks by kidnappers and bandits, .

In addition to evacuating their family members, the Nigerians are also acquiring plots and building houses in Niger Republic’s towns of Maradi and Dan Issa.

This is even as some of them have obtained residence permit, allowing them to stay in the West African country.

Activities of kidnappers heightened recently in Katsina State, with many residents falling victims or being forced to pay large sums of money to secure the release of loved ones.

In December 2018, the state Governor, Aminu Masari, raised alarm that the state was under the siege of kidnappers.

Katsina’s neighbour, Zamfara State, has seen a spike in kidnapping and banditry over the years, with hundreds of lives lost in 2018 alone.

Most of the residents fleeing Katsina State are from Jibia Local Government Area, a community sitting on the border between Nigeria and Niger Republic.

A visit to Jibia and Magama, border towns, by our correspondent showed that most of those who moved to Niger spent the day running businesses in Katsina and only returned to Maradi or Dan Issa to pass the night. All their businesses and social life are based in Nigeria, but their new homes are in Niger.

Some of those interviewed attributed their reasons to the relative safety in the neighbouring country.

It was gathered that more than 25 Nigerian millionaires have moved to Niger. Some live in rented houses while others have built their own houses. Some of the rich men received threats before deciding to relocate.

It was also gathered that individuals in Jibia frequently changed phone numbers as a result of constant harassment from suspected criminals threatening their lives.

Although people were scared to discuss insecurity issues in the towns “for fear of informants” exposing them, the few that agreed to talk  on condition of anonymity said more people would relocate to Niger for safety if the security situation did not improve.

A wealthy individual who also sought anonymity said, “I can tell you about 25 of us are presently living in Niger Republic.

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