Binta Labaran, aka Fati Niger, is one of the sweetest vocalists in the Hausa entertainment industry. The Kano-based artist, originally from Niger Republic, came to limelight six years ago when she released her first blockbusting album called ‘Girma Girma’, that sold millions of copies. However, the album couldn’t fetch her up to N10, 000 due to activities of pirates. In this interview with ALIYU ASKIRA, she talks about her life, and music as well as why she delved into acting and film production.

It has been a while Fati, lets meet you
Well, let me start by saying that people call me Fati Niger because I am from Niger Republic, but my real name is Binta Labaran. I am single and have been in the Hausa entertainment industry for over 10 years. I have more than 500 songs to my credit. I am successful by all standards, because I have my own studio, my own house, very good cars and generally am comfortable. I also have workers under me. I was opportune to perform Hajj and Umrah. I have lot of relations that I helped or that I am helping. So basically that is about me.

You have been silent for a long time until recently when you were seen appearing in Hausa films. So why did you decide to start appearing in Hausa film?
In as much as I am successful in the music world, I also want to be known internationally, that is why I decided to venture into acting and film production. By the grace of God I have produced 3 films including “KUDIRI” and I also featured in a film called “SAKATARE” as lead actress. However, as for singing genre, as far as I am concerned, I still have a lot to contribute. I have been composing songs for politicians like former Governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Sule Lamido. Some people even taught I had relocated my office to Dutse, the capital city of Jigawa state, but that is not true. I also compose songs for other politicians as well. It is a good business and there is good money in it. I only delved into film production as a way of diversifying the venture.

The last time I was here in your studio to interview you, the environment was different from what am seeing now, what is the secret?
Well, the secret is that God has been benevolent to me and my business is growing. Like I told you, am into film production and singing as well. My artists and those working for me have increased. I have also changed and put other things in place for the office to look corporate and business oriented environment. So, as you can see, lots of activities are going on here. Generally, quote me anywhere, Fati is not doing badly. I am also happy that the media is monitoring my progress. I also wish you the best.

You have also put on a lot of weight, looking robust and beautiful. What is the secret?
Honestly, it’s God that is doing it for me. I am still single and have been praying hard for God to bring a decent and God-fearing person to me. I am ready to settle down any time, but I can tell you that most men are not sincere. I had a serious relationship before with Ali Jita. We still respect each other even though the relationship is over. Since then I haven’t been into any serious relationship.

Why? Or are you still nursing the old wound?
No! I have since moved on. Only that all those that have been coming are doing so thinking that Fati is cheap. So they want to take advantage and then run away. Secondly, the society in which we are is not helping matters. Even though we are into this business to entertain and educate people about what is happening in the society, people still think that we are wayward and cheap, some even look at us like prostitutes. That is part of the problems we are facing. But for those of you in the media, I think from the way we relate with you, you would also know the good and the bad ones around. Some of our members got married and made success of it. So Fati is ready to settle down as long as a serious and sincere person comes her way.

Are you not under pressure by your parents to settle down, I mean are your parents not worried that since you have achieved what you wanted, you should try and settle down?
What do you want me to do? To go to the media and announce that am looking for husband? Don’t you know that marriage is something that would come your way when the time is right? I want a sincere relationship from a sincere gentleman who will love me because I am Fati Niger, not because I am a successful singer or director, or because I am riding a big car and have very good office. The issue is I don’t know whether the world is about ending because men would come to you with sincere intentions but when you dig deep or as the relationship progresses, they would start behaving funny by asking what is not possible. It is the utmost wish of my parents to see me settle down but the time that God wants it to happen has not come. So I will continue to pray, but quote me anywhere, once I settle down, it will be for real.

Tell us more about the industry, especially the issue of piracy, censorship crisis and all what not. Has anything changed for the better so far?
The issue is pirates are killing us here, nothing has changed. Nothing in the industry is most worrisome than that. You would spend your money to produce good film or music, before you release it, it would be all over the market. At that moment you wouldn’t have any option other than to be competing with the pirates. I think Government should help us by investing into the industry. I mean they can sponsor our films or help us in marketing them so that we would remain in business. Millions of people today survive or earn their living from Kannywood and such, Government should take serious interest in what we are doing.

Tell us your experience with pirates
It was when I released my first album, “Girma Girma” about 6 years ago. When the album was ready for release, I travelled to Niger Republic, my country to release it into the market before it would hit other markets in West Africa, but unknown to me some pirates have already got some copies of the song. So before you know it, the song was all over the place. The music, which is my best, did not fetch me up to N10, 000 while million copies were sold by the pirates. Whenever I remember it, I always become full with regrets and pray hard for these pirates not to end up well in their lives since they fed on other people’s creativity which  they know is completely Haram,

This reminds me of the cancellation of the proposed Kano Film Village. What do you have to say about?
Well, I read somewhere that if the project takes off, Ten thousand people or more will be employed there, because the place will have facilities like Cinema houses, international market to showcase films and music, hotels, Police post, swimming pools and international studios, and the area will have electricity and access roads. I am sure those who proposed that the project be located in Kano might have had at the back of their mind the contribution Kannywood members had made to President Buhari during his campaign. As such, this is the way he wanted to indirectly give us back, but our Ulamas are looking at it from different angle.

Do you sex the project as capable of moving the industry forward, rather than breeding immorality?
Do you know that our southern colleagues have been benefitting from the Federal Government through Nigerian Film Corporation for long? I believe that through the Film Village, tourist will be visiting the area and will give Kano the opportunity to increase its commercial potentials, but some Ulamas have kicked against the project and said it is Haram, adding that it will breed lot of anti-Islamic activities. Well, they know the religion of Islam better than Fati Niger as such, that is an issue which is very sensitive which I wouldn’t want to delve myself too much into. So let’s wait for those that have the powers to do something about it decide on what to do. I am a nonentity; as such I prefer to mind my business.

Do you have any regret so far?
Honestly they are many. As a human being there is no way one would not have saddest moments. One of it for me is that I would have preferred to be a married woman by now. Though I also have happy moments like when I am in Saudi Kingdom to perform Hajj or Umrah. So yes I had sad and also happy moments.


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