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Hustle story of Billionaire Dahiru Mangal: From a truck driver to owning Max Air

Read Time:3 Minute, 38 Second

There are not many Nigerians who have an entire airline to their name, and so it is quite easy for the spotlight to beam on the few who do. Dahiru Mangal, the founder of Max Airlines is considered one of Katsina’s richest men, but who would have known that he started from very humble beginnings, opting to become a truck driver when he was done with his formal education?

Dahiru Barau Mangal was born on August 3, 1957, in Katsina, Katsina State to the family of Alhaji Barau Mangal and his Mother Hajiya Murjanatu Barau Mangal. He grew up with his family in Katsina and had his early education in Katsina. He attended Gafai Primary School and finished from there in 1971, before proceeding to Kastina Arabic Teachers College for Higher Islamic Certificate, and graduating in 1976.

How the hustler turned into a businessman

After completing his formal education, Dahiru set out to hustle, starting out as a truck driver. Fortune smiled on him and in time, he was able to afford a car to hire out. This was the beginning of business for the young man. From there, he branched off into several other businesses, soon etching his name as an industrialist to be reckoned with.


A strong trait common to top businessmen is the ability to seek out, cultivate and nurture strategic friendships and associations. Mangal had this skill very early on and it did work well for him. His associations with the leadership echelon in Katsina state exposed him to friends in strategic positions. His friendship was both relevant in the military and civilian administrations at the time, and he was able to leverage this to legitimately secure a number of business contracts. A good businessman that he is, Mangal made the best of the contracts and grew his business empire.

He has business interests across different sectors including transportation, oil and gas and construction. He was also a Non-Executive Director of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc from March 20th, 2009 till he resigned on November 17, 2017. Mangal is also an Executive Director on the board of Massanawa Travel & Tours and Massanawa Enterprises Limited amongst others.

Another of the numerous businesses he owns is Katsina Dyeing and Printing Textiles Limited, where he sits as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer as well.

Recently the business mogul established a rice processing mill and fertilizer blending plants as well as many other ventures in Katsina State to create job opportunities for people in the state.

Max Airline

In 2008, Mangal founded Max Air, a leading airline operating a domestic, regional and international flight network. The airline first started as Mangal Airlines in 2006, but after a couple of years, rebranded to become Max Airline operating its first commercial flight to King Abdulaziz International Airport from Kano. The airline that started operations with just two Boeing 747-400 aircraft and three destinations, has grown to include several other destinations and routes and is now reputed to be one of Nigeria’s leading airlines operating domestic, regional and international flight networks.

Dahiru Mangal serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Max Air Limited. He calls the shots at AFDIN Group (Nigeria) Limited, the holding company of the vast empire that includes Max Airlines, AFDIN Construction Company Nigeria Limited, Manasawa Oil, Mangal Oil, and Manasawa Enterprises.

Giving back to society

Dahiru Mangal has several philanthropic acts to his name. He has offered support to students, people with disabilities and internally displaced persons affected by conflicts.

He also showed his commitment to infrastructural development, when Mangal Industries in November 2021, signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, Sinoma, for the construction of a three million metric tons per year Cement Plant and 50 megawatts captive power plant in Moba, Kogi State. The project is estimated to cost about $600 million and is expected to reach completion in early 2024.

In a statement, the Chief Executive of Mangal, Engr. Fahad Mangal said that the investment reinforces Mangal’s commitment to Nigeria’s infrastructural and economic development and reflects its confidence in the favourable outlook of the economy in the country and the region.

“Mangal is investing strategically in the West African Cement Industry to enable the Nigerian economy to bridge the huge infrastructure and housing deficit in the largest economy of the region,” he said.


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