Tiv Billionaires and Millionaires: Meet the Richest in Tiv Land

The top ten Tiv billionaires are Terry Waya, Sen. Gabriel Torwua Suswam, Sen. George Akume, Samuel Ortom, Barnabas Andyar Gemade, Athanasius Atser Kyausu (Kyabiz), Michael Ornguga Mku, Prof. James Iorzua Ayatse, Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, and Prof. Terhemba Shija.

The Tiv people are arguably one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. They constitute about 3.5% of Nigeria’s total population and are predominantly found in Benue state and in parts of Taraba, Plateau, and Nasarawa states.

Tiv people are best known for Agricultural production, and although most of them have diversified into more lucrative businesses in the country, their contributions to the nation’s GDP cannot be over-emphasized. While the likes of Dangote, Rabiu, and Adenuga continue to make history as among the richest people in the world, these rich T iv billionaires are making their way to the upper echelons of the business world.

List of the Richest Tiv Billionaires and Millionaires in Nigeria

1. Terry Waya

  • Date of birth: May 3, 1961
  • Age: 63 years old
  • Net Worth: $865 Million
  • Source of Income: Agriculture, construction

Popularly known as Mr. Versace, Terry Wire is a London-based Nigerian from Tiv Land, and he is presently the richest. Terry is one of the few silent billionaires in Nigeria. He actually became famous across the nation after his son (Kiddwaya) joined the famous Big Brother Naija Show 2020 Edition.

63-year-old Terry Wire was born and raised in Kaduna, where he apparently ventured into business. He later moved to Abuja, where he became successful following his business relationship with soldiers. Today, Terry Waya has many businesses running within and outside the country. He played a key role in the construction of the famous Banana Island in Lagos State, South-Western Nigeria. The artificial island covers 1,630,000 square meters of land divided into 536 plots.

Mr. Waya is also instrumental in the construction of Transcorp Hilton and all its business subsidiaries in the hospitality industry. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of Valley Agriculture and Food Company. The Agro-Allied Business is concerned with large-scale investments in livestock, food and beverage processing, agricultural technology, and other allied industries.

Politics is another area Terry Waya is believed to have made his money. He was a member of the then Advisory Committee of the All Progressive Council (APC) Women and Youth
arm during the 2019 Presidential election. There are claims that he has a close relationship with the President, Rt. Gen. Muhammad Buhari. He is also believed to be among Buhari’s cabals who are at the “helm of affairs” in the Nigerian government. Terry is popularly known as Mr. Versace because of his love for Versace.

2. Sen. Gabriel Torwua Suswam 

  • Date of birth: 15 November 1964
  • Age: 59 years old
  • Net Worth: $5 Million
  • Source of Income: Politics

Gabriel Suswam is a Nigerian politician and former governor of Benue State. He is a Senator of the 9th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Suswam’s net worth is estimated at $5 million, which enlists him among the Tiv billionaires and millionaires.

He began his political career in 1999, running for office in the House of Representatives for the Katsina-Ala/Ukum/Logo Federal Constituency, and was elected. While he was serving his terms, he also held other key positions within the Senate: He was Chairman of the House Services Committee, Chairman of the House Committee on FCT, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Chairman of the House Committee on Power

Suswam became the Governor of Benue State in 2007, and he held office until 2015 when he lost a senatorial seat to an opposition party. Although he is not directly involved in the current political activities of the state. Among other private businesses he is engaged in, Suswam makes meaningful income from his life pension as an ex-governor. This, of course, include his annual allowances, medical treatments, houses, and cars, all running in millions of Naira.

3. Sen. George Akume 

  • Date of birth: 27 December 1953
  • Age: 70 years old
  • Net Worth: $5 Million
  • Source of Income: Politics

Also a politician, George Akume joins our list of Tiv billionaires and millionaires, with his net worth estimated at $5 million. The 70 year-old is the 21st Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), as appointed by President Bola Tinubu. Prior to this, he served as minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs from 2019 to 2023.

Senator George Akume was the Senator representing Benue North-West Senatorial District from 2007 to 2019. In 1999, he became governor of Benue State and served two terms of four years.  While the majority of Akume’s income hails from his political career, it is no secret that the senator owns several private businesses that are mostly unknown to the public. The Haf Haven Hotel, located at 24 Atiku Abubakar Way in Makurdi, Benue State, is one of the many businesses that generate meaningful income for him.

4. Samuel Ortom 

  • Date of birth: 23 April 1961
  • Age: 62 years old
  • Net Worth: $4.5 Million
  • Source of Income: Politics, Oracle Business

Samuel Ioraer Ortom is an administrator, businessman, and philanthropist who also merit the list of Tiv billionaires and millionaires. Orthom was a Minister of State Trade and Investments in Nigeria during the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan. He became governor of Benue state in 2015 and served for two terms of four years until his tenure ended on 29 May 2023.

Aside from his earnings from his various political positions, Samuel Orthom is also well-known for his business acumen, including farming. He is the CEO of the popular Oracle Business Limited. His business conglomerate has now expanded to Oracle Feeds Ltd, Oracle Farms Ltd, Oracle Media Ltd, Goshen Water (Ltd), Oracle Plastic Ltd, Oracle Super Sack Ltd, and Tongi New Construction, with Stephen Amase as a front. The company plans to diversify to other businesses, including oil in the future.

The family firm owns Goshen Water which produces bottled and sachet water. It’s Oracle Farms Limited handles mechanized farming and animal husbandry. Oracle Business Limited acquired the moribund Benue State Government’s Plastics company and is into plastic materials production.

During the coronation of His Royal Majesty, the Tor Tiv Fifth, it was discovered that both the invitation cards, programs, canopies, table water, and every entertainment item amounting to millions of Naira were supplied by Oracle Business Ltd. These are some of the many ways Samuel Orthom grew his net worth to an estimated $4.5 Million, about 1.9 Billion in Naira.

5. Barnabas Andyar Gemade 

  • Date of birth: 4 September 1948
  • Age: 75 years old
  • Net Worth: $3.5 Million
  • Source of Income: Politics,

Here is another Nigerian politician who merits our list of Tiv billionaires and millionaires. Barnabas Andyar Iyorhyer Gemade is a former Senator for the Benue North East constituency who holds a Tiv traditional title of Nom-I-Yange-I-Tiv. Gemade was also a one-time the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Before his new political transition, Barnabas held the positions of Secretary (Minister) of Works and the National Chairman of the Congress of National Consensus party, one of the parties sponsored by military dictator General Sani Abacha. He was the chief executive officer of the Benue Cement Company (BCC) from 1985 to 1992.

Barnabas Andyar Iyorhyer Gemade started off his career with Etteh Aro & Partners, Consulting Engineers, as Senior Manager in the Jos office and later in the Kaduna office. Today, he is one of the richest men in Tiv land.

6. Athanasius Atser Kyausu (Kyabiz)

  • Date of birth: May 3, 1961
  • Age: 61 years old
  • Net Worth: $3 Million
  • Source of Income: Oil & Gas

Athanasius Atser Kyausu (Kyabiz) is one of the top business moguls and oil magnets in Benue state. He was the CEO of Kyabiz Group – a conglomerate with interests in oil and gas, hospitality, and contracts. Kyabiz Hotel, one of his business conglomerates, is located right in the heart of Makurdi along the ever-busy Gboko Road. It is known to offer its guests a blend of class and taste bound together in serenity.

Also very effective in the political affairs of his state, Kyabi has, on several occasions, used his status and strong financial capacity to influence his party’s decisions. In 2018, his father, Pa Atser Kyausa, was kidnapped by unknown men. The octogenarian was kidnapped at his home in Vandeikya, Kwande LGA, but was released shortly after. It is believed that a ransom was paid, although the exact amount Kyausu paid parted with for his father’s rescue was not revealed.

7. Michael Ornguga Mku

  • Date of birth: 26 June 1951
  • Age: 72 years old
  • Net Worth: $2.5 Million
  • Source of Income: Politics

Mike Mku is a Nigerian Politician, Businessman, and Philanthropist. He began his political career in 1979 and contested for his first political office as a member of the Benue State House of Assembly under the platform of the then-ruling National People’s Party (NPN). He has since held several political positions in the country.

Mike was the flagbearer of The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the Benue North-West Senatorial District, otherwise known as “Zone B”. He made efforts to become Benue state governor but was defeated by his co-party member, despite being so popular.

One of the key political positions Mike has occupied was as Senior Special Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Human trafficking and Child labor during the former President’s tenure. In Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, he served as chairman of the Niger Delta River Basin Development Authority

8. Prof. James Iorzua Ayatse 

  • Date of birth: May 12, 1956
  • Age: 68 years old
  • Net Worth: $1.8 Million
  • Source of Income:

Making it on our list of Tiv billionaires is Prof. James Iorzua Ayatse, a Nigerian academic who is the Paramount Ruler of the Tiv Nation and the president of the Tiv Area Traditional Council, and chairman of the Benue State Council of Chiefs. He was previously the vice chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, and the pioneer vice chancellor of the Federal University, Dutsin-Ma, respectively, before succeeding Alfred Akawe Torkula, Tor Tiv IV, who ruled from 1991 until his death on 22 November 2015.

Ayatse has served as External Assessor for Professional Appointments/Promotions and External Examiner to a large number of universities; he chaired the National Universities Committees on performance indicators and minimum benchmarks for science programs in Nigerian Universities. He also chaired several panels for the accreditation of science programs in Nigerian Universities.

Ayatse served in the capacity of Chairman or member of several communities or governing boards at international, national, and state levels. He was involved on three separate occasions in the formulation of the vision and blueprint for the development of his own state of Benue. In October 2022, he was conferred with the Nigerian national honor of Commander Of The Order Of The Federal Republic (CFR) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

9. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa

  • Date of birth: 12 June 1962
  • Age: 61 years old
  • Net Worth: $1.5 Million
  • Source of Income: Rice Farming

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Michael Kaase Aondakaa, or better Mike Aondoakaa, is Nigeria’s former justice minister in office from July 2007 to February 10, 2010. Although he was removed in controversial circumstances by the then-Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, he is still listed among the richest people in Tiv land, and his estimated net worth is $1.5 Million, which is about 641.8 Million in Naira.

Since he left office in 2010, the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice became a rice farmer, and his company remains one of the biggest local producers and processors of rice in Nigeria. His company is famous for the productivity of MIVA Rice in Benue State, through which he hopes to contribute at least 10 percent of the rice consumed in Nigeria

10. Prof. Terhemba Shija 

  • Date of birth: 23 November 1960
  • Age: 63 years old
  • Net Worth: $1.2 Million
  • Source of Income: Politics

A renowned academic, poet, novelist, critic, and politician, Terhemba Shija rounds up our list of top Tiv billionaires in Nigeria. The 63-year-old Nigerian served as a Member of the House of Representatives of Nigeria in 1992 and as Benue state’s Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

As of 2014, Shija lectured at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi. He has authored several books of fiction, biography, literary criticism, and poetry. His best-known titles are “Whispers of Distant Drums,” “The Siege, The Saga,” and “Cantos for the Benue”.

A Recap of the List of Top Tiv Billionaires and Millionaires

  1.  Terry Waya – $865 Million
  2.  Sen. Gabriel Torwua Suswam – $5 Million
  3. Sen. George Akume – $5 Million
  4. Samuel Ortom – $4.5 Million
  5. Barnabas Andyar Gemade – $3.5 Million
  6. Athanasius Atser Kyausu (Kyabiz) – $3 Million
  7.  Michael Ornguga Mku – $2.5 Million
  8. Prof. James Iorzua Ayatse – $1.8 Million
  9. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa – $1.5 Million
  10. Prof. Terhemba Shija – $1.2 Million

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