Mohammed Indimi is the Founder and Chairman of Oriental Energy Resources Limited, a privately-owned oil exploration and production company that he started in 1990. Hard as it is to believe, Indimi is not an overnight success story. Though he is popularly associated with the oil and gas sector, Indimi’s business exploits did not start with oil and gas, but from cashing in on small business opportunities here and there.
Mohammed Indimi was born on the 12th of August, 1947 to the family of Alhaji Mamman Kurundu in Maiduguri (now the capital of Borno state). His father was a trader who sold hides and skins sourced from villages around Maiduguri.
Mohammed grew up with his parents in Maiduguri. He did not get formal education as a young boy but only attended Quranic school. He started joining his father in the trade of animal hides and skins from the age of 10.
The young jack of all trades
At age 16 in 1963, Indimi had mastered the trade and was ready to start out on his own. He set up a bicycle rental outfit which he ran briefly until he got a loan of 100 pounds to form his startup capital. With the advantage of youthful vigour and his father’s network which he had tapped into, the young Indimi soon earned a reputation for himself among other traders in the region.
He added the sale of clothes to his business in no time, and when the Biafran war of 1967 affected the flow of clothes to northern Nigeria, Indimi started crossing the borders to Cameroon and Chad to source ready-made clothes to sell.
Though he was still young, Indimi had developed his business acumen to spot opportunities. When there was a shortage of flour in Maiduguri in the early 1970s, he bought 50,000 bags of flour from the Chief Commercial Officer of the Ministry of Commerce for Sokoto state at a reduced price and resold in Maiduguri for huge profits.
In the late 70s again, when the South Chad Irrigation Project would have been delayed due to the lack of water issues, Indimi travelled to Florida in search of industrial water pumps and supplied the same to help the project get completed. He made even more profits from this venture and went ahead to monopolise the business when he built the first pump factory in Maiduguri. This, according to Indimi, marked the beginning of real profits for him.
In 1990, he established Oriental Energy Resources, an offshore oil exploration and production company and this was the beginning of his venture into the oil and gas industry. He got an oil prospecting license that year to acquire a minimum of up to 1000 km of seismic data and to drill at least three exploratory wells.
Oriental Energy started with a modest Block OPL224 offshore Nigeria, and has now expanded to include three assets under development offshore Nigeria, the Ebok Field (OML 67), Okwok Field (OML 67) and OML 115. The Ebok Field began production in Q2, 2011 while the Okwok Field began production in 2015.
Oriental Energy has also developed an offshore production hub centred on the established Ebok Terminal which is used for the storage and offloading of crude oil.
Indimi is a known philanthropist with visible impacts in areas like education, health, housing and social welfare. He launched the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation (MIF) through which he executes his humanitarian projects.
His company has also executed several CSR activities in locations like Akwa Ibom State, among others. Oriental Energy launched a N700 million modern residential estate of 100 units in Enwang, headquarters of Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
His Foundation, MIF, has empowered people affected by the Boko Haram crisis in the North-East by building a 100-unit N600 million housing estate, providing food, clothing, schools and clinics for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno state.
Indimi has also donated a multi-million-dollar International Business Centre to Lynn University in the USA, which was named after him; and awarded over 470 scholarships to students in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, among others.
Mohammed Indimi is the Chairman of M & W Pump Nigeria Limited; a board member on Jaiz Bank, Arab Contractors, O.A.O Nigeria Limited and the International University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan. He has also served on the board of other companies over the years.
Indimi was conferred the honour of the Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2012, in recognition of his achievements and philanthropic gestures. He has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Lynn University, Florida in 2013, the University of Uyo in 2017, and the Nigeria Defense Academy in 2018.
Based on his charitable work towards the IDPs in Borno State, he was awarded the Vanguard Businessman of the Year in 2017.
According to Forbes, Mohammed Indimi was worth $500 million in 2015 where he ranked 39th richest man in Africa. He dropped off the list in 2016 due to the drop in oil prices.