Richest Men in Nigeria: Sayyu Idris Dantata

Nigeria’s Richest men

Sayyu Idris Dantata


Alhaji Sayyu Idris Dantata, Aliko Dangote’s half-brother, is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MRS Holdings Limited (Formerly known as MRS Group). He started his career as Director of the Engineering and Transport Division of Dangote Group, the biggest Nigerian conglomerate.

Alhaji Dantata has been the Chairman of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc since 2009. He is the Director of Hydro Alternative Energy Incorporated. He has been a Non-Executive Director of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited since 2008. Sayyu Dantata served as a Director at MRS Holdings Ltd (then MRS Group). He has also served as a Director at Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc. He is a seasoned mechanical engineer by training.

He had his education at the Morris Brown College in Atlanta-Georgia, United States of America. It has been said that his half-brother, Aliko Dangote, was the one who paid his fees.

Alhaji Sayyu saw the potential for diesel marketing when he first experienced difficulties procuring fuel for his company’s huge fleet. At that time, the Nigerian government was the sole importer of diesel and there were shortages of the product largely. Having studied the complex allocation process, he set up MRS Oil in 1995 with an initial 5-million-naira startup capital. He then started buying diesel from AP, Unipetrol, and the Kaduna Refinery. Like most startups, it took a while before his company got a grip of the oil market. They have had to buy diesel from foreign firms who were then receiving allocations despite having no offices of their own in the country.

Sayyu’s MRS got its big break when it was hired by the NNPC in 1998 to dispose of Low Residue Stock (a by-product of the refining process). It was then followed by a major order from Wale Tinubu, who contracted him to supply diesel.

The company has an annual turnover of ten billion naira (N10 billion) with ships, and totals about 50,000 tons of diesel monthly. The company recently acquired Chevron Texaco’s downstream assets for 1 billion dollars, winning the bid against Femi Otedola’s Zennon Oil. The MRS Group had just three staffers at its inception, but today boasts of about two thousand (200) employees on its payroll. Sayyu Dantata’s MRS Group acquiring Chevron Texaco’s downstream assets through its subsidiaries, Corlay Global SA and Petrocci Holdings led to Otedola having animosity towards both him and his half-brother.

Sayyu’s personal interest is listed as “Polo Games and uplifting the people”. His surname is actually “Idris”, which he swapped for his mother’s—the mum, Mariya Dantata, was the granddaughter of Alhassan Dantata, a successful businessman from whom the Dantatas have their roots. Sayyu Dantata ranks as one of the best Polo Players in Nigeria.

Education: Morris Brown College, Atlanta-Georgia, USA

Net worth: $400 million (2016 estimate)

Foundation or organization founded: MRS Holdings Ltd (Formerly, MRS Group)