Ibrahim Babangida Biography & Net Worth

Name Ibrahim Babangida
Nicknames Evil genius, Maradona
Date of Birth August 17, 1941
Net Worth $15 Billion
Birthplace Minna
State of Origin Niger
Profession: Former military president of Nigeria
Nationality: Nigeria

Father Muhammad Babangida and Mother, Aisha Babangida welcomed Ibrahim Babangida into the world on August 17, 1941, in Minna, Niger State. Prior to attending primary school from 1950 to 1956, he obtained an early Islamic education. Along with his classmates Abdulsalami Abubakar, Mamman Vatsa, Mohammed Magoro, Sani Bello, Garba Duba, Gado Nasko, and Mohammed Sani Sami, Babangida attended Government College in Bida from 1957 to 1962.

On December 10th, 1962, Babangida enlisted in the Nigerian Army and began attending the Nigerian Military Training College in Kaduna. On September 26, 1963, Babangida received his commission from the Indian Military Academy as a regular combatant officer and second lieutenant in the Royal Nigerian Army (a month before it became the Nigerian Army). His army number was N/438. Babangida spent April through September 1963 as a student at the Indian Military Academy. 

From 1964 to 1966, he served as the 1 Reconnaissance Squadron’s Commanding Officer. Babangida studied gunnery and the Saladin armored car at the Younger Officers Course at the Royal Armoured Centre in the United Kingdom from January 1966 to April 1966. Lieutenant Babangida saw the events of the bloody coup d’état of 1966, which led to Sir Ahmadu Bello’s murder, while he was stationed with the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron in Kaduna. He took part in the July countercoup, led by Murtala Mohammed, that removed General Aguiyi Ironsi and replaced him with General Yakubu Gowon, along with several other young officers from Northern Nigeria.  

Military Career

Civil War 

Babangida was called back to duty after the civil war began and assigned to General Mohammed Shuwa’s 1st Division. He was appointed commander of the 44 Infantry Battalion in 1968, which was actively engaged in battles inside Biafran territory. Babangida was shot on the right side of his chest in 1969 while on a reconnaissance mission from Enugu to Umuahia. The battalion was under heavy enemy fire at the time. He was then hospitalized in Lagos and given the chance to have the bullet shrapnel removed, but he declined and continues to carry it with him. On September 6, 1969, Babangida married Maryam King while recuperating from his wounds. In December 1969, while in command of a battalion, he returned to the battlefield. Babangida was notified by General Theophilus Danjuma, his divisional commander, that the Biafran Army had submitted to the federal military administration in Lagos, thereby ending the war. 

Following the War 

Following the conflict, Babangida received two promotions in 1970 and was appointed as a teacher at the Nigerian Defence Academy. He attended the Advanced Armoured Officers Course at the United States Army Armor School from August 1972 to June 1973. He became the 4 Reconnaissance Regiment’s commander in 1973. He became command of the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps in 1975. Babangida took a number of defense and leadership courses. As Commander of the Armoured Corps, Colonel Babangida played a significant role in the coup of 1975. 

From August 1, 1975, through October 9, 1979, he served as one of the Supreme Military Council’s youngest members. By regaining control of Radio Nigeria from the principal culprit, Lieutenant Colonel Buka Suka Dimka, Colonel Babangida nearly single-handedly put an end to the 1976 coup d’état that led to the murder of General Murtala Mohammed. He attended the Senior Officers Course at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, from January to July 1977. He took the Senior Executive Course at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies from 1979 to 1980. 

Army Staff Headquarters 

From 1981 until 1983, Babangida served as the Director of Army Staff Duties and Plans. With financial support from his close friend and businessman Moshood Abiola, he planned the 1983 coup d’état that resulted in the collapse of the Second Republic. From 1983 to 1985, General Muhammadu Buhari, the most senior serving officer at the time, served as the military head of state under Babangida and his other conspirators. Babangida was later promoted to Chief of Army Staff and made a member of the Supreme Military Council. 

Coup d’état of 1985


General Babangida, who was the Chief of Army Staff at the time, began plotting to depose military ruler General Muhammadu Buhari after the coup d’état of 1983. A level of military skill never before seen in the annals of coup planning was used in the 1985 palace takeover. Babangida orchestrated the entire operation as the ringleader, cultivating his strategic relationships with allies including Sani Abacha, Aliyu Gusau, Halilu Akilu, Mamman Vatsa, Gado Nasko, and younger officers from his time serving as a military academy instructor (graduates of the NDA’s Regular Course 3). He then gradually elevated his allies within the ranks of the military hierarchy.


General Tunde Idiagbon, the sixth Chief of Staff at Supreme Headquarters and ruthless second-in-command to General Muhammadu Buhari, initially caused the palace coup’s execution to be postponed. The plan changed around midnight on August 27, 1985, when Sambo Dasuki, Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, Lawan Gwadabe, and Abdulmumini Aminu were assigned the task of arresting the president. By dawn, the conspirators had gained control of the government. Babangida, who had been named the new leader in a radio address by General Sani Abacha in Minna, flew into Lagos from there. In a speech, Babangida defended the coup by disparaging General Muhammadu Buhari’s military administration as being “too rigid.”


Muhammadu Buhari was kept under house arrest in Benin until 1988 by Babangida’s decree, which also established his official position as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s armed forces. He reorganized the national security apparatus, appointing General Aliyu Gusau as the Co-ordinator of National Security and directly reporting to him in the president’s office. He also established the State Security Service (SSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and Defence Intelligence Agency. He established the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) as the highest law-making council while serving as Chairman (DIA).


Babangida was married to Maryam Babangida from 1969 until her death in 2009. They had four children together: Aisha, Muhammad, Aminu, and Halima. On 27 December 2009, Maryam Babangida died from complications of ovarian cancer.

Ibrahim Babangida Net Worth

A Forbes article from 2011 estimates Babangida’s net worth at $12 billion. The allegation was refuted by Babangida, who maintains that his regime “were saints.” Going by Forbes, Ibrahim Babangida’s current estimated net worth is $15 billion dollars, making him richer than the richest man in Africa and Nigeria, Aliko Dangote. Babangida is believed to be hiding a multi-billion-dollar fortune by successively owning shares in several Nigerian businesses and running businesses by proxy, using some of the richest men in Nigeria.

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