Late Deribe was extremely wealthy is a fact and even more factual is his action of dazzling others with his luxurious wealth. And many other Nigerians remember him more for the trappings of his wealth. In the 1980s, he was one of the very few people on earth who were cruising around in the newly-released Gulfstream G550 private jet.
It is believed that he was among the first 12 people to purchase the customized version of this jet in the early 1980s, putting him in the same league with Yoshiaki Tsutsumi of Japan who was the richest man in the world at that time and other billionaires like Khalid Ibn Mahfouz of Saudi Arabia and Robert Edward ‘Ted’ Turner, the owner of CNN.
-There is also the Deribe Palace (Gidan Deribe) in Maiduguri, the state capital. Sprawling and vast, the building’s majesty was enough to impress the late Princess Diana and her husband, Prince Charles, King Juan Carlos I of Spain who stayed in the palace for two days in 1986 (the Spanish king was said to have been amazed with such opulence right in the middle of a vast desert) and even a son of an American President (George Bush would later become the US President himself), all of whom were hosted in the gold-marble building which was so exquisite that its commissioning was done by military president, General Ibrahim Babangida. IBB was also a guest at the palace, while another high-profile guest is a retired army general, Muhammad Saad Abubakar, now the Sultan of Sokoto.
Many Nigerians were flabbergasted at the majesty of the Deribe Palace when Ovation magazine did a feature on the man and his wealth in early 2000.
How much did the palace cost him? Just $100 million. And cleaning his house was said to have cost N5million per month. This is what Dele Momodu, the publisher of Ovation has to say on the Mai Deribe piece, which he said was one of the most memorable
for his company:
After that, I think the Mai Deribe in Maidugri. I also flew in Colin Ramsey from London to do p the photography for us and this is a man who has photographed Imelda Marcos (former First Lady
of the Philippines) and all the top stars.
MAI DERIBE THE PHILANTHROPIST…
-Construction of the Deribe Central Mosque, Old Maiduguri, Jere Local Government, Borno. It was commissioned by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
-In the early 1980s, Mai Deribe upon returning from overseas (most probably the US or the UK) came with gifts of ultramodern gadgets and equipment for the staff of NTA Maiduguri. NTA is the Nigerian Television Authority. The gadgets were so advanced that it took the staff two years to master it, even after inviting their seniors from NTA Channel2, Victoria Island, Lagos.
-His neighbours were the people of Fezzan and Old Maiduguri, and they also benefitted from his largesse, he sent money and food to them, one bag of millet per family every month of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
-Construction of the Bulumkutu Central Mosque, Borno, the Aminu Deribe Mosque, the Doggon Masalanchi in the Fezzan Ward of Maiduguri, Deribe Hotel Mosque, School Mosque, Government College, Maiduguri and Fillin Polo Mosque, Airport Mosque. This is in addition to 27 smaller mosques all across the country. In total, he erected 78mosques.
-Deribe Arabic and Islamic Schools.
-For 44 years, Mai Deribe sponsored people to the hajj, the Muslim holy pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Atimes, he would ferry the pilgrims in his own Gulfstream private jet.
-Deribe Hospital along Bulumkutu Road. It was commissioned by Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, the-then Chief of General Staff, the second-in command to General Babangida.
-Construction of the Baga Road Central Market and Shopping Complex.
-In the mid-1980s, Alhaji Mai Deribe dropped the sum of $1million for oil prospectors looking for crude oil deposits in the Gajiganna and Kukawa areas of Bornu State.
Some geophysicists believe that there is a considerable quantity of oil in the Nigerian part of the Chad Basin and that is quite feasible as the Chadians have already started drilling oil in their own part of the basin.
In a recent NTA programme hosted by the suave Cyril Stober, Governor Kashim Shettima said the Federal Government of Nigeria is the one stalling progress on the exploration of crude oil in the Chad Basin.
-Mai Deribe’s company, Preussag Drilling Company, built and donated more than 60 boreholes in rural districts across Borno and Yobe State.
-Mai Deribe sponsored numerous indigent students from Borno State to study abroad, giving them scholarships to England where some of them stayed at his palatial residence in Gloucester, London.
-Mai Deribe was regarded as a patriarch for the people ofvBorno State and that explains why his people ran into his open arms at various occasions. During the devastating flood disaster in September 1994, thousands of displaced residents camped at his house where they were catered to. Although he was not in the country when the flood happened, he sent a sum of 135million naira (about $375,000) to the Borno State government to assist them with the relief efforts to purchase food items, shelter materials and other accessories for them.
May His Soul Rest In Perfect PeaceNaijaBlog.ng