THE Middle Belt Forum on Sunday provided a detailed insight on how one of its promoters and former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, died at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja.
The organization said his case was shabbily treated by doctors.
The National Publicity Secretary of MBF, Dr Isuwa Dogo, made the clarification in a statement issued in Abuja.
Mailafia, who was a columnist with The PUNCH was said to have died at midnight after a brief illness.
The former deputy governor, who was the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the 2019 election, was a known government critic and had advocated public sector and exchange rate reforms.
Mailafia was born on December 24, 1956 in the Sanga LGA of Kaduna State.
He later graduated top of his class at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1978 with a B.Sc. Honours Social Sciences degree (Politics, Economics and Sociology). He also has a M.Sc. from the same institution.
He subsequently won a French Government Scholarship to France, where he earned a Certificate in French Language and Civilisation from the University of Clermont-Ferrand in 1985.
Mailafia later proceeded to the United Kingdom as a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Scholar at Oriel College, earning a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1995.
In his last interview with The PUNCH, Mailafia said the refusal of the CBN to sell foreign exchange to bureau de change operators might not yield the expected result because corrupt bankers would frustrate it while the BDC operators were being shielded by a “Jigawa cabal”.
Speaking on how Mailafia died, the National Publicity Secretary of MBF, Dr Isuwa Dogo, said in a statement, “The death of the former deputy governor of the CBN at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja, this (Sunday) morning came to us as a great shock.
“Arising from various enquiries from Nigerians over the circumstances of his death, the Forum wishes to state as follows: That Dr Mailafia arrived in Abuja last Sunday, September 12, 2021, from Akure and was received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by his wife.
“On arrival at home, the wife noticed he was not in the best of health conditions and seemed to be suffering from malaria. After three days of treatment without signs of improvement, he went to the CBN Hospital on Friday, September 17, 2021 where he was shabbily treated. It took the intervention of a senior medic who immediately placed him on oxygen and admitted him.
“Dr Mailafia’s was later given the option of choosing three hospitals; Gwagwalada Hospital, National Hospital and EHA Clinics. The wife opted for the third choice. On arrival at the EHA Clinics, the wife was subjected to yet another moment of anxiety as it took a direct order from the top management of the hospital to accept him.
“After few hours of treatment, the EHA Clinics told the wife that it was expedient to transfer the former CBN deputy governor to Gwagwalada as the clinic was not fully equipped to handle the case.
“The wife opposed the decision and insisted that she was opposed to the idea of taking her husband to Gwagwalada. Mailafia’s wife only succumbed when the consultant assured her that nothing bad will happen to her husband.
“Yesterday, Saturday September 18, 2021, Dr Obadiah was transferred to Gwagwalada. On arrival, the name of the doctor that was billed to attend to Dr. Mailafia was not on duty. Even when an attempt was made by foreign health consultants to save the situation, the doctor on duty got angry and said he was not obligated to listen to any foreign consultants that had been brought into the matter with the sole purpose of ensuring nothing goes wrong.
“Wife of the former CBN deputy governor was asked to pay the sum of N600,000 as deposit even when it was a referral case, with accruing medical bill to be settled by the CBN. At a point, Dr. Mailafia complained over his breathing problems and pleaded with the doctors to place him on a ventilator. The doctors flatly refused.
“Even after the doctors declared Dr. Mailafia dead, foreign consultants who were brought into the matter through Dr. Mailafia’s son that is living abroad, had directed a family member, who is a medical professional, with the wife of the CBN Deputy Governor, to mount pressure on the chest of Dr. Mailafia for resuscitation and thereafter place him on a life support.
“The doctors in Gwagwalada refused all entreaties by the family members of Dr. Mailafia to follow the advice of the foreign consultants, insisting that they have already pronounced him dead. Even when the wife could feel the pulse of her husband, the doctor flatly declared there was nothing they could do since they had already pronounced him dead.”
ACF mourns Mailafia, says demise shocking
The pan-Northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, while speaking on the death of the former CBN deputy governor, described it as shocking.
The apex northern body said Mailafia contributed immensely to the development of Kaduna State and the North in general.
A statement from the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, in Kaduna on Sunday, was titled, ‘ACF sad over Dr Mailafia’s death’.
It read, “We mourn the distinguished northern intellectual who obtained a PhD from Oxford University. We mourn a financial wizard who rose up to the rank of Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria in the banking sector of our economy.
“While he was alive, Dr Mailafia held unto his views strongly. We sympathise with his immediate family, the Kaduna government and the Central Bank of Nigeria over his untimely demise.”
Probe death, M’Belt Youth Council tells FG
Meanwhile, the Middle Belt Youth Council (Worldwide) has called on the Federal Government to take responsibility of investigating Mailafia’s death.
The organisation which described his death as “a minus to Nigerian nationhood”, premised its demand for investigation on the fact that he had been under intense pressure to desist from speaking the truth.
The President of MBYC (Worldwide), Emma Zopmal, made this call in a statement on Sunday.
He said, “Late Dr Obadiah Mailafiya was an extraordinary hero. He stood for the truth but hated by the system. Nigerian system hates the truth. As a result, this country will never move forward. He has been under intense pressure to desist from speaking the truth.
“The Middle Belt and Southern Nigerian people should wake up to reality. The real covert war is at our door steps. While the manifest war is ongoing through Fulani herdsmen militia, systematic extermination is ongoing too.”
SOKAPU demands for forensic analysis of his death
In a related development, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union says Mailafia’s sudden death is a huge loss to the global community.
SOKAPU alleged foul play in the death of the former CBN chief, demanding a thorough independent forensic analysis of their son.
For a person of interest to Nigerian government to arrive at a government hospital, just to be declared dead after a few hours, sure smacks of foul play.
SOKAPU demands for a thorough independent forensic analysis of their son,” said SOKAPU’s spokesperson, Luka Binniyat, in reaction to the demise of the former CBN chief in Kaduna on Sunday.
Binniyat noted that the kind of Mailafia was not common to find in any generation.
Mailafia’s voice on national issues rang till last few days – Olawepo-Hashim
Also, a former presidential candidate and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has described Mailafia’s death as a “great loss to Nigeria and his beloved family that he loved dearly.”
He noted that the deceased’s voice on national issues kept ringing until the last few days to his death.
Olawepo-Hashim’s position was contained in a statement on Sunday titled ‘Mailafia’s death, a great loss to Nigeria – Olawepo-Hashim’.
Olawepo-Hashim recalled that he and the deceased were screened by the elders of the Middle Belt in 2019 presidential run, stating that “He (Mailafia) did remarkably well. His voice on national issues which kept on ringing until the last few days will be missed.”