Telecom magnate Mike Adenuga has reemerged as Nigeria’s second-richest individual with a net worth of $7.4 billion, surpassing Abdul Samad Rabiu, who now occupies the third position.
Forbes conducted a reassessment of Adenuga’s mobile phone network, Globacom, attributing the surge in his wealth to the reevaluation. Initially dropping to the third position due to a substantial decline in net worth, Forbes’ recent reassessment restored Adenuga to the second-richest position in Nigeria, trailing only behind Aliko Dangote. In June 2023, Adenuga faced a significant decrease in net worth, plummeting to $3.6 billion, influenced by factors such as the naira’s unification and a downturn in Conoil’s performance, where he holds a stake.
As the Chairman of Conoil and founder of Globacom, Adenuga’s net worth has experienced fluctuations, reaching $7.3 billion in 2022 and peaking at $10 billion in 2015.
Despite his billionaire status, Adenuga has encountered challenges in his career, including the recent partial disconnection of Globacom by MTN over interconnect debt. Globacom Ltd. disputes any outstanding interconnect charges owed to MTN, claiming that the purported N1.6 billion had been paid without dispute.
Reflecting on 2006, Adenuga faced scrutiny from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a money laundering case, resulting in his implication and detention. He opted to reside in London until late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua granted him a pardon.
In June 2016, new challenges arose as Adenuga was pursued for a debt exceeding $140.5 million by foreign and local entities. Conoil, under Adenuga’s ownership, defaulted on payments to creditors, including Total. Another company, Bellbop, faced a court injunction for failing to settle a $9.4 million debt to Baker Hughes. Adenuga’s financial struggles affected creditors, leading to operational issues for companies like Depthwize, a local oil servicing company, which had to lay off workers and suspend services on Conoil’s rigs due to a $40 million debt.
Despite challenges, Adenuga remains committed to philanthropy. The Mike Adenuga Foundation allocates nearly $20.5 million in scholarships and aid annually, supporting students worldwide. In 2011, he donated N500 million to aid flood victims in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Adenuga contributed N1.5 billion towards virus-combatting efforts and donated $250,000 to Nigeria’s football team, the Super Eagles.