Once recognized as the richest Nigerian and one of the few richest in Africa in the early 1950s before he passed away. Alhaji Alhasssan Dantata whose major occupation was trading was born in 1877, brought up, stayed, died on the 17th of August 1955 and was buried in Kano.
Alhaji Dantata while alive was a very popular merchant and got his education in a Quranic school in Bebeji at Madrasah. He practised the Islamic religion, married two wives; Umma Zaria and Maimuna and was also a board member of the Emir of Kano’s council
Dantata parents were Abdulahi and Fatima both of whom were wealthy traders of Caravan after the death of his father Dantata and his siblings were too young to succeed to their father’s position and to manage his considerable wealth. They all received their portion according to Islamic law, His mother, however, was known to be a forceful character that nobody in the Zango would take her for a wife. She, therefore, decided to leave her children in Bebeji, in the care of an old slave woman, while she moved to Accra where she became one of the wealthiest Hausa traders.
The slave was known as “Tata” from which circumstance young Alhassan became known as Alhassan Dantata because of her role as his ‘mother’ (” Dantata” means “son of Tata”).
The Part of his father’s wealth apportioned to him vanished and he had to support himself, the life of a Quaranic (Almajiri) is known to be difficult as he was tasked to find clothes for himself and also for his teacher (mallam) and also find time to read. Some Almajiri resorted to begging while others seek paid jobs.
In hopes that his mother would allow him to stay with her in Accra, Ghana and also find him some paid work to do at Gold Coast Agalwa community, Dantata joined a Gonja-bound caravan and headed to her, however things turn out differently, his mother sent him to stay with a mallam until he was ready to leave, Dantata worked harder than he had ever worked before while in Accra in order to survive and then returned to kano, Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Dantata had some money saved up in Kano before leaving for Ghana, used the money to purchase items from Babeji, he sold some of the items on his way and the rest of it in Accra, Ghana. This prompted him to go into the trading business properly. He later made connections outside Africa and with other European countries that helped grow his business to the level which it attained.
Alhassan Dantata dealt in the distribution of European goods as a businessman. He also dealt in groundnut and kola nut, he was a supplier to large British trading companies and also did business with the former Gold city (Ghana).