Bola Shagaya
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Visionaries - June 1, 2022

How Bola Muinat Shagaya Became One of the Wealthiest Women in Africa

Bola Muinat Shagaya is a well-known Nigerian billionaire and African businesswoman. Her entrepreneurial path is one to be remembered, as she established a multibillion-naira enterprise from scratch.

Her business ventures span different industries such as photography, real estate, oil and gas, and banking and finance.

The business mogul’s modest beginnings began in Ilorin, Nigeria’s western region. Her father worked as a Nigerian public servant, while her mother was a seamstress from Sudan.

All of her formative memories and schooling took place in Ilorin. She attended Queens College after her primary education.

Bola then went to Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. She proceeded to Armstrong College in California, where she earned her degree in accounting.

Pivoting into entrepreneurship: Pioneering Konica into the Nigerian and West African markets

Instead of staying in California, she returned to Nigeria and began working in the Audit department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

After working for a while, she resigned and launched her own business in 1983. She started her own business at the age of 24.

Bola Shagaya began importing and distributing photographic materials such as roll papers, films, and chemicals. This made her the first person to introduce the Konica brand of photographic materials to the Nigerian and West African markets.

She conducted her business under Bolmus International Limited, a combination of her two names, Bola and Muinat.

With the industry unexplored, there were so many untapped opportunities. As a wise entrepreneur, in 1997, she established a photo lab company called Fotofair Nigeria Limited. 

With over 30 locations across Nigeria, the firm is one of the country’s most prominent photographic labs.

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Diversification into other sectors

Bola Shagaya owns one of the country’s leading importers and distributors of base oil. She entered the industry in 1980 during the General Ibrahim Babangida-led regime.

She became one of Nigeria’s first local oil marketers and launched Practoil Limited, a leading importer and distributor of base oil in Nigeria, by securing oil blocks.

However, she was not involved in the company’s administration until 2005, when she became the Managing Director.

In 2011, she founded another exploration firm, Voyage Oil and Gas Limited, as a Crude Oil trade and export company.

In a year, the Nigerian government gave the company an oil exploration license, and it has been easy sailing ever since. 

Petroleum products and gas are sold, marketed, stored, and hauled by the corporations.

Apart from the oil and gas sector, the Nigerian oil magnate also has real estate investment. 

Under the banner of Bolmus Group International, the corporation has housing estates in Nigeria, the United States, and Europe.

Bolmus Group International is today a Nigerian conglomerate with holdings in a wide range of sectors, including oil and gas, real estate, finance, and communications.

Bola Muinat Shagaya’s other portfolio

She has been on the board of Unity Bank plc for eight years. She is also a member of the Nepad Business Group – Nigeria.

As a fashion enthusiast, Bola Shagaya is the patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN ).

Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, bestowed the title of Member of the Order of the Niger on her on July 22, 2010. (MON).

Bolmus Group International is today a Nigerian conglomerate with holdings in a wide range of sectors, including oil and gas, real estate, finance, and communications.

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