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Business News of Tuesday, 22 November 2022


Nigerians sell their cars, houses, other properties on Facebook, Instagram to raise funds to 'japa'

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Reuben Anjorin recently secured a visa to Canada.

It has been over one year since he has been on the project after having his mind made up about relocating from Nigeria for greener pastures in the North American country.

Anjorin, who, until his visa approval, was a staff of one of the top banks in Nigeria, now has about a month to secure flight tickets for himself, his wife and a son.

He also needs to have a certain amount in his account, which he will need to take care of the family until he secures a job.

One of the many options available to him to raise sufficient funds is to sell off most of his properties, which by the way, cannot be taken with him on his journey to Canada. On his list is a landed property in Ikorodu, a Toyota Camry vehicle, furniture items, home/electric appliances and others.

Speaking with, Anjorin explained why he is putting most of his properties on the market.

He said: "When I leave Nigeria, it will be a matter of permanently relocating. Every few years, I could visit and spend a few weeks or months. It is only wise for me to sell these properties to raise more money needed for stability in a foreign country instead of leaving them behind where they would hardly be of any use to anyone. Once my family and I get to Toronto, we will acquire the properties again."

In the last few years, there has been a resurgence of Nigerians trying to leave the country for greener pastures abroad. This wave has given birth to a popular local slang, “Japa”, which refers to one migrating from Nigeria to another part of the world.

Harsh economic conditions, including the high cost of living, rising unemployment, insecurity, and poor governance, have forced Nigerians to leave the country in droves.

The belief, therefore, is that immigrating to other parts of the world would afford them better education, better career opportunities, better-paying jobs, and of course, a safer and more secure future for their children. These benefits, they believe, are quite elusive in Nigeria at the moment.

Tunde Shittu, a media practitioner who left Nigeria for Ireland in May 2022, says he became worried about the economic crisis, hence why he considered joining the “Japa” trend and relocating to Ireland.

He said: "When you look at how things have going in the country in the last few years, you can’t help but feel the need to escape the hardship, high cost of living and insecurity to where you can raise a family with the basic needs of live being available at little cost."

For many who have made up their mind about emigrating, the major challenge is usually the financial cost of such a move. From the point of processing the visa to getting the flight tickets, this could cost an average of N5million for one person depending on some factors.

These factors include but are not limited to; the type of visa, the challenges of obtaining the visa, processing of proper documentation, the country of choice, Proof of Funds (POF) and of course, the cost of flight tickets.

Oludayo Sokunbi, a Doctoral Candidate at Concordia University, says that a Nigerian looking to relocate to the United Kingdom will spend no less than N5million on expenses for the first three months. He added that a N10million proof of funds (POF) must be in the account for at least 28 days.

According to Dotun Akinloye, a marketing executive of NewWave Travels, a travelling agency based in Lagos, even though the number of Nigerians who apply for visas of different countries is in the hundreds of thousands, only a little percentage eventually make it out of the country due to various factors.

He said: "Every day you go to these foreign countries' embassies and high commissions, there are usually large crowds waiting to acquire visas. Many are denied, and some who eventually get visa approval are faced with raising money for flight tickets and other requirements.

"As much as the “Japa” trend has become quite popular, it is not a venture many people can undertake. To be honest, the cost of relocating is actually on the high side and even more if one is relocating as a family. A lot of times, you will spend tens of millions of naira to complete the process and finally emigrate."

Due to the high cost of processing a travel visa, paying for flight tickets and other expenses, raising a lot of funds is necessary. Unlike some who would genuinely give out furniture and some other properties to family and friends, many do not, as they need to gather as much finance as possible to maintain stability when they arrive in their new country of abode.

Especially when the arrangement is not to return to Nigeria anytime soon, leaving behind cars, furniture, and home appliances will never make sense.

Anthony Uzor recently moved his family of four to Vancouver, Canada, and he says he had spent quite a lot for the dream of immigrating to become a reality.

He said: "Apart from the money spent on processing the visa, flight tickets for me, my wife and two kids, I also have to show that I can take care of them in the next few months while we are over there by showing Proof of Funds of about 24,000 Canadian dollars (approximately N8 million). If you don’t have enough money for this project, you might have to sell off your properties and assets to raise the fund. A lot of people I know have done the same."

The need to sell off assets and properties has helped many raise funds for travel. This simple gesture has even given birth to a new business called Decluttering, which is fast becoming popular on social media. Some people have made it a business to assist property owners sell-off their unwanted properties at considerable prices. These small businesses are found on social media, particularly Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and Whatsapp.

What they do is that, after being contacted by a potential client who wishes to sell off properties, they negotiate a percentage cut from the sale of the item. In some cases, they are allowed to add to whatever price the owner wants to sell the item, and whatever extra is made on the item is theirs.

Lizzy Joe, who runs a decluttering business on Instagram, says even though she has been doing the business for about three years, in the last year, it has become more profitable with the patronage of more clients.

She said: "Due to a surge in the number of people that want to “Japa” in the last year, patronage for us has also increased. More people have been contacting us to help them sell their properties promptly, and with the large following we have on Instagram, we are guaranteed each post reaching many people. In that way, the items don’t take long to find interested buyers, so long as they are in good condition.

Facebook Marketplace is another place where people go to sell their properties. Furniture, home appliances, kitchen utensils, clothes, shoes and jewellery are all sold on the platform. Facebook’s incredible popularity and reach are an advantage to buyers and sellers.

A Facebook user, Daniel Agoh told that he has bought several items on the platform this year. He says though the items are not brand new, they have been in almost perfect condition at the time of purchase.

He said: "Last month, I bought a 49inches smart TV for N75,000. A brand new of it would have cost me about N160,000, while a “Tokunboh” of it would cost about N90-100K. The owner sold for a reasonable amount because he was relocating to the United States and needed to get rid of some properties to raise funds."

The "Japa" trend may have had its downside of a massive brain drain in the country, but it has fueled the business of decluttering unwanted items. The business is thriving based on the astronomical rise of the number of people willing and ready to put their properties on the market as they emigrate abroad.

On one hand, the property owners seem to have found an avenue to sell their properties on time and with ease, on the other hand, buyers who can not afford brand-new items are able to find them at reasonably good prices and in very good condition.