By Chris Udochukwu
0ne of Nigeria’s oil mogul and telecom billionaire, Mike Adenuga makes a comeback as Nigeria’s second-richest man with a $7.4 billion net worth valuation, pushing Abdul Samad Rabiu to third position.
This surge in wealth can be attributed to Forbes’ recent reassessment of the valuation of his mobile phone network, Globacom, which he founded and currently stands as the third-largest telecom service provider in Nigeria.
Adenuga had ceded the second-richest position to Abdul Samad Rabiu due to a heavy drop in net worth value. However, with Forbes revisiting their evaluations, he now stands as the second-richest person in Nigeria, trailing only behind Aliko Dangote.
Recall that Adenuga had faced a significant dip in his net worth, plummeting to $3.6 billion in June 2023, as reported by Nairametrics. The decline, from the initial $6.3 billion recorded in January according to Forbes, was influenced by multiple factors.
The unification of the naira in June adversely affected his net worth, coupled with the performance downturn of his stake in Conoil.
The Chairman of Conoil and founder of Globacom has experienced fluctuations in his net worth over the years, with it reaching $7.3 billion in 2022 and attaining its pinnacle at an impressive $10 billion in 2015.
Despite his billionaire status, Adenuga’s career journey has not been without challenges.
Mike Adenuga’s challenges
Recently, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) approved a partial disconnection of Globacom by MTN over the former’s refusal to pay interconnect debt.
This partial disconnection implies that subscribers of Globacom will be unable to initiate calls to any MTN numbers, while still being able to receive inbound calls from MTN customers.
The NCC officially communicated this information through a public notice issued on Monday, setting a 10-day notice period starting from January 8 before the disconnection is implemented.
Contrary to these reports, Globacom Ltd. has denied any outstanding interconnect charges owed to MTN. A source within Globacom, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, revealed that the purported amount of N1.6 billion had been paid without any dispute.
What you should know
Reflecting on the year 2006, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) carried out raids on the headquarters of prominent entities including Globacom, Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB), and Conoil.
This led to the summoning of Mike Adenuga for questioning regarding a money laundering case, ultimately resulting in his implication and detention on money laundering charges.
In response, Adenuga opted to leave the country and reside in London for a period. It wasn’t until the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua granted him a pardon that he was able to return to Nigeria.
Fast forward to June 2016, a new set of challenges emerged for Mike Adenuga when it was revealed that he was pursued for a substantial debt exceeding $140.5 million by two foreign companies and one local entity.
Reports circulated that Conoil, a company under Adenuga’s ownership, had defaulted on payments to various creditors, including the French oil giant, Total.
Bellbop, another company linked to Adenuga, faced an interim injunction by the High Court in Lagos for failing to settle a $9.4 million debt owed to the U.S. oil and gas firm, Baker Hughes.
The repercussions of these financial struggles extended to the creditors, some of whom had to cease operations due to the immense debts.
Depthwize, a local oil servicing company, had to lay off workers and suspend services on two of Conoil’s rigs, citing a $40 million debt that left the company unable to cover day-to-day operational costs.
Mike Adenuga’s philanthropy
Despite facing numerous challenges, Mike Adenuga remains committed to philanthropy, consistently contributing to society through generous donations. An exemplary illustration of his charitable endeavours is the annual commitment of the Mike Adenuga Foundation, which allocates nearly $20.5 million in scholarships and aid to support students.
Each year, the foundation extends its support by awarding scholarships to female students pursuing undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. studies in various locations, including Africa, the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, and India.
In 2011, demonstrating his commitment to societal well-being, the Nigerian tycoon donated N500 million to aid flood victims in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
Furthermore, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Adenuga contributed a substantial N1.5 billion towards efforts to combat the virus.
His generosity extends beyond health and education, as evidenced by a $250,000 donation to Nigeria’s football team, the Super Eagles, showcasing a multifaceted commitment to making a positive impact in various spheres of society.