Dahiru Barau Mangal
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Visionaries - August 30, 2022

Dahiru Barau Mangal: The Truck Driver who Became a Billionaire ‘Overnight’

Dahiru Barau Mangal is one of the silent billionaires in Nigeria and is regarded as the wealthiest man in Katsina. His journey to becoming a billionaire was paved with thorns and brimstone. He was born and raised in a humble family in Katsina state, northern Nigeria.

Today, Mangal is a revered personality and entrepreneur in Nigeria and sits as the founder of many companies from different sectors. He also serves as a shareholder in many fortune 500 companies in Nigeria. He attained this feat by pitching his tent with the right people and leveraging his network. 

The early days of Dahiru Barau Mangal

The 65 years old oil mogul had his formative education at Gafai Primary School and later attended Kastina Arabic Teachers’ College for his Higher Islamic Certificate. Upon graduating in 1976, he started as a truck driver. From this business, he saved and acquired a car and leased it.

While doing his car leasing business, he associated with important dignitaries in Katsina state during the military and civilian administrations. This includes people such as Colonel Yahaya Madaki, Navy Captain Emmanuel Acholonu and the civilian administration of Saidu Barda. This, in turn, connected him with different opportunities, such as government contracts.

These contracts served as the foundation of his wealth and chartered his path into different sectors and politics. As a politician, he actively funds the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the state and federal levels. He also supported the late president Umar Musa Yar’adua’s campaign.

As a businessman, he expanded into sectors such as oil and gas, aviation, transportation, and construction that runs into different sectors.


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Mangal’s business empire

One of the businesses owned by Dahiru Barau Mangal is Max Air. It is one of the leading Nigerian airlines operating domestic, regional and international flights. Max Airlines was initially founded as Mangal Airlines in 2006. In 2008, it was changed to Max.

The airline’s success saw his involvement in other sectors, all of which are under the umbrella of AFDIN Group Nigeria Limited. He is the chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Max Air Limited and Katsina Dyeing and Printing Textiles Limited. He is also an Executive Director on the board of Massanawa Travel and Tours and Massanawa Enterprises Limited.

Mangal also invests in MRS Oil Nigeria, where he once acted as a Non-Executive Director. He is also a major shareholder in Oando Plc.


The Nigerian billionaire and philanthropist also had his fair share of controversies. In 2006, under the leadership of Malam Nuhu Ribadu, Dahiru Barau Mangal was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for smuggling.

As an Oando stakeholder, in 2017, he, in conjunction with Gabriel Volpi, submitted a petition to the Nigerian Securities Exchange Commission for alleged financial mismanagement by management. This led to the company’s suspension of the Lagos and Johannesburg stock exchanges.


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