A former Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen Theophilus Danjuma, shocked his audience at a consultative meeting his Foundation and some Non-Governmental Organisations had in Abuja on Wednesday when he narrated how he made $500m from an oil business, and was in a fix on how to spend it.
The chief executives of the NGOs at the meeting could not believe their ears after hearing Danjuma’s narration.
The former Chief of Army Staff said the $500m, came as his profit from the total of $1bn he had realised from selling an oil block, which was allocated to him 12 years ago.
About $500m had been used to settle some pressing personal issues, pay his staff, and tax to the government.
He recalled that the story started 12 years ago when he was allocated an oil block by the regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha.
He said that the oil block which was in Port Harcourt, River State, however, took him about 10 years before his company first struck oil. Luckily for him, by this time, the price of oil had soared in the international market.
He said this made him to sell the block because he knew that “whatever goes up must come down,” stressing that the deal fetched him $1bn.
He also said that he was left with ‘just’ $500m after he had taken care of the essentials of life.
He said that he was not sure whether the money would be secured in the bank. Still, he said that he contemplated saving the money for his children. Yet, a second thought, told him this was not the wisest thing to do as his children might fight over it after his death. So, what would he do with the money?
“It was at this junction I decided to establish a foundation which I have committed $100m to. Before I ventured into the business, I told the participants how I retired early from the army.
“I retired at an early age of 41 from the army; it was also because I got to the top early and after that, I started shipping business and became reasonably rich.”
Danjuma wondered what he would be doing with an extra $500m at the age of 72, saying, “I decided to set up a foundation and endow it with my fund. This is because the Nigerian government no matter how noble its intentions cannot address these challenges on its own.
“In fact, in all developed countries, the implementation of social projects is never the sole responsibility of government; there are often strong collaborations as well as the private sector.”