The name might not be so popular in so many cycles, but Mohammed Indimi is a Nigerian oil mogul who founded Oriental Energy Resources Limited, a private oil exploration and production company, in 1990. As one of Africa’s most prominent men with a magnanimous heart, His charity foundation, Mohammed Indimi Foundation (MIF), is focused on lifting individuals and families in the northern part of the country out of poverty, illiteracy and health challenges. More importantly, his foundation also brings succour by providing shelter to those who have been displaced and their lives shattered by environmental havocs.
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The foundation empowers and supports people affected by Boko Haram crises in the northern part of Nigeria. It has built a 100-unit housing estate, provides food, clothing, and health care, etc., at an estimated cost of N600 million in Ngala local government area, a community that faced devastating attack by insurgents in Borno State. The impact of Indimi’s foundation also extends to the southern part of the country where an estimated N700 million was spent to build 100 housing units in an estate.
Background of Mohammed Indimi
Mohammed Indimi was born into Alhaji Kurundu family on the 12th of August, 1947 in the Northern part of Nigeria. He grew up in Maiduguri, Borno State with his parents. His father, Alhaji Mamman Kurundu was a renowned hides and skins trader who sort animal skins from villages around Maiduguri.
Unlike most successful Nigerians, Young Mohammed Indimi was denied formal education because his father could barely afford it. According to him in Premium Times,
“…as an unlettered person by western standards, I still supervise people with masters and PhDs who are working in my organisation. No teacher of western education can say he or she had taught me how to pronounce the alphabet ‘A’ in my life.”
His Little Beginning
At a very young age, Mohammed Indimi worked with his father in trading animal hides and skins. In 1963, when he had mastered the trade, he became independent and started his own business. Young Indimi managed his business so well that it earned him a good reputation among other big traders in the region. As time went on, he expanded his business activities into the selling of clothes; this was during the period of the Nigeria-Biafran war. As such, getting goods into the Northern part of Nigeria was hard, industrious Indimi devised new means by crossing the Cameroon border to buy ready-made clothes to sell.
Mohammed Indimi and the Entrepreneurial Pursuit
In 1973, there was a shortage of flour in Maiduguri. The state government were importing bags of flour and selling at a reduced rate to the locals. Unlike Maiduguri, Sokoto state at the time had excess flour to sell. Mohammed contacted the Chief Commercial Officer of the Ministry of Commerce for Sokoto state who was in charge of the sale, he bargained and bought 50,000 bags of flour. He then transported the bags of flour to Maiduguri where he sold and made huge profits from the transaction.
Another business opportunity presented itself during Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime in 1979. At the time, the former Head of State was to commission the South Chad Irrigation Project, a pumping station built with canals from Lake Chad. Three months to when the station was to be commissioned, the water pulled back, and there was a need for industrial water pumps. Mohammed Indimi cashed in on the opportunity. He travelled to Florida to source for the water pumps, supplied the said pumps and which helped in completing the project.
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As with every business opportunity in Nigeria, there is bound to be competitors, so he went a step ahead of competitors by monopolising the business. He did this by quickly setting up an agency so that no one could sell water pumps except him. In six years, he built the first pump factory in Maiduguri. The factory became very successful that he started making real money, according to him.
Even though the water pump venture gave him “real money” according to him, that was just a tip of the icerberg compared to the goldmine he stumbled on.
Mohammed Indimi’s Philanthropy
Mohammed Indimi is a well-known humanitarian whose philanthropic activities cuts across education, health, housing and social welfare. He launched the Muhammadu Indimi foundation (MIF) to lift individuals and families in Northern Nigeria out of hunger, illiteracy and poverty. In 2016, his foundation sponsored some northern students, mostly Borno indigenes, to study at the International African University of Sudan.
Also, the MIF has greatly empowered and supported people affected by the Boko Haram crisis in the North East. They built a 100-unit housing estate costing N600 million, provided food, clothing, schools and clinics for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by the Boko Haram Insurgency in Borno State.
Apart from his humanitarian gestures in the Northern state, Indimi donated a multi-million-dollar International Business Centre to Lynn University in the USA, which was named after him. Through his company and foundation, he built a 100 unit modern residential estate costing N700 million in Enwang, awarded over 470 scholarships in Akwa Ibom State and created a sponsorship program for University of Uyo’s Department of Petroleum and Chemical Engineering.
Recognition and Awards
Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – 2012
Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Lynn University, Florida – 2013
Honorary Doctorate in Business Adm. from University of Uyo – 2017
Vanguard Businessman of the Year – 2017
Honorary Doctorate in Management Science from Nigeria Defense Academy – 2018
Boards where Mohammed Indimi Serves
Mohammed Indimi serves as the Chairman of M & W Pump Nigeria Limited which partnered with MWI Corp of Deerfield Beach, Florida. He sits on the board of several companies including Jaiz Bank, Arab Contractors O.A.O Nigeria Limited and the International African University of Sudan.
According to Forbes.com, Muhammadu Indimi’s net worth as of 2015 was $500 million where he ranked 39th richest man in Africa.
Featured Image Source: Nigerian Monitor
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