How A Nigerian Economist Built A Multi-Billion Dollar Business

Biography & Success Story Of Abdul Samad Rabiu: Founder Of BUA
Biography & Success Story Of Abdul Samad Rabiu: Founder Of BUA

Born with a silver spoon or not, if you’re not cut out to overcome the challenges that stand in your way, you can never be successful at it. In any attempt to attain greatness, discipline and perseverance must be prioritised every step of the way. And no one gets an easy way out. 

This is the success story of Abdul Samad Rabiu, a visionary and astute entrepreneur who took advantage of new and existing opportunities to turn his family business into a multi-billion dollar entity.

See Also: How An Ex Legal Practitioner Built A Billion Dollar Supermarket Chain

Here’s how he did it:


Early Life & Education OF Abdul Samad Rabiu

Abdul Samad Rabiu was born in Kano, Nigeria on the 4th of August, 1960 to Mr & Mrs Isyaku Rabiu a successful entrepreneur and Islamic scholar.

After his primary and secondary education in the country, he travelled to the United States to study Economics at the Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.


Journey To Entrepreneurship 

At age 24 Abdul Samad Rabiu returned to Nigeria after graduating from the university to meet a huge responsibility of overseeing his family business, which was struggling because his dad was in detention by the then administration for allegedly not paying import duties for rice brought into the country. 

See Also: How The Son Of A Tanzanian Millionaire Turned $26 Million Into Over A Billion Dollars


The Start Of The BUA Group 

After a few years working in his father’s company, Rabiu set up BUA international limited in the year 1988. The company was set up as a commodity trading firm that imported rice, edible oil, flour, iron and steel into the country.


BUA’s Growth

After spending a few years in business, Abdul Samad Rabiu finally got his breakthrough in the year 1990, when BUA successfully struck a deal with the Delta Steel company, a government-owned company, for the supply of raw materials, and in return, BUA International was to be given finished products.

The success of the transaction helped BUA to further expand into steel, thereby producing billets, importing iron ore, and constructing multiple rolling mills in Nigeria.

The company later went on to acquire the Nigerian Oil Mills Limited, which was the largest edible oil processing company in the country.

In the year 2005, Abdul Samad Rabiu further grew his firm by starting two flour-milling plants, both in Lagos state and in Kano state. And in the year 2008, his company finally unsettled an eight-year monopoly in the Nigerian sugar industry when it launched the second-largest sugar refinery in the entirety of sub-Saharan Africa.

By the year 2009, the BUA group acquired a controlling stake in a cement company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and also constructed a $900 million cement plant in Edo State which was launched in the year 2015.

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Today, the BUA Group is a conglomerate with businesses in Sugar Refining, Oil Milling, cement production, ports terminals, and so much more.



BUA group is a parent to several other subsidiaries who have gone on to become major players  in the Nigeria business environment

1). BUA OILS: formerly known as Golden oil before its acquisition, BUA has established two Refining plants with the capacity of 700TPD, the oil plant is responsible for the production of products such as Stearine and Palm Olein, and also Distilled fatty acid.

2). BUA SUGAR: Incorporated April 13 2005, BUA Sugar Refinery Limited is currently one of the largest sugar refining plants in Africa. The primary purpose of the company has been refining imported and local sugar, in order to actualise its original aim as an ultra-modern automated plant, the facility has been equipped with state of the art technology, with an installed capacity of 2,000 metric tonnes of sugar daily. BUA sugar has gone as far as deploying state of the art technologies from Brazil which is undoubtedly the biggest in the world with the best technology in sugar refining.

3). BUA CEMENT: Considered one of the biggest players in the Nigerian cement market, BUA cement owns a 2 million per annum MT floating terminal and 3 Subsidiaries across the Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria, Obu & Edo cement company limited Okpeala Edo State, Kalambaini Cement company limited, Sokoto and cement company of Northern Nigeria also in Sokoto State. All plants have been equipped with the necessary technology to provide different grades of high-quality cement that suits the Nigerian market.

4). BUA PORTS & TERMINALS: After a highly competitive bidding process, BUA Ports and Terminal Limited finally won the concession bid for Terminal ‘B’ of the NPA in Port Harcourt, and currently controls two warehouses, and manages 4 Berths; Berths 5 to 8.

5). BUA ESTATES: In order to key into the ever-expanding real estate market in Nigeria, BUA Estates was established. The company currently has estates for private residency and business purposes across Lagos and Abuja.

See Also: How A South African Geologist Built A Mining Business Worth Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars


Abul Samad Rabiu Today

According to Forbes Magazine, Abdul Samad Rabiu is a multi-billionaire with a net worth of over $3 billion as of 2020. He is also a recipient of several awards, as in 2011 he was honoured as Commander of the order of the Niger (CON) one of the most prestigious honours in Nigeria. He was also honoured in 2017 with the Silverbird Extraordinary business achievement award by the Silverbird group; and in 2015, the Vanguard Newspaper honoured Abdul Samad Rabiu with a lifetime achievement award.


Impact On Society 

Abdul Samad Rabiu, through the BUA Foundation which he established for philanthropic purposes, has helped thousands of individuals. In 2017, the foundation was credited with giving out 600 million Naira interest-free loans to a total of 2,000 farmers in Kano state. The farmers were also provided with improved seedlings and fertilizers.

The foundation has also been responsible for the construction of a 7,000 square meter paediatric ward at the Aminu Kano teaching hospital.

In collaboration with the Rotary Club of Gbagada South in Lagos, BUA foundation assisted in executing free ear, nose, & throat clinical screening on pupils of Kinniun-Ifa and Araromi primary schools. 

See Also: How A Lawyer Built One Of South Africa’s Largest Banks


To Sum It Up 

A key trait every entrepreneur must possess is the ability to stay abreast of opportunities and take advantage of them when they present themselves. Rabiu’s story shows a man who was willing to make great use of what was in front of him, and in the process, became a huge success.


What are your thoughts on this success story of Abdul Samad Rabiu? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with expertise in supply chain management, international trade, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, renewable energy, and agriculture. I'm also a network engineer, I.T security expert, and computer programmer. In my spare time when I'm not working out at the gym, I try to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with whatever means necessary.

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