20 September, 2021
A former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Dr. Obadiah Mailafia has died at a public hospital in Abuja. Although there is no official confirmation yesterday, speculations are rife that he might have died of COVID-19.
Mailafia’s death was confirmed to LEADERSHIP yesterday in Jos by his cousin, Mr. Mike Kalla, who said the former deputy governor of the nation’s apex bank died after a brief illness.
Kalla said he called the deceased yesterday but his line was switched off, adding that when he repeated the call, Mailafia picked and told him (Mike) that he had malaria.
According to him, he prayed for him to have a speedy recovery only for him to receive another call while in the church yesterday morning that he had passed on.
The deceased was born on December 24, 1956 in Randa in Sanga local government area of Kaduna State. His father, Baba Mailafia Gambo Galadima, was an evangelist with the Evangelical Reformed Church of Central Nigeria.
He graduated top of his class at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1978 with a BSc. Honours Social Sciences (Politics, Economics and Sociology) and had his MSc from the same institution.
He was the chief economist at the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Department of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group from 2001 to 2005. Mailafia was recalled home from the African Development Bank to serve as deputy governor of the CBN.
Meanwhile, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has narrated how Mailafia died at an Abuja public hospital.
Arising from various inquiries from Nigerians over the circumstances of the death, the forum said Mailafia arrived in Abuja last Sunday, September 12, 2021 from Akure, Ondo State 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 a 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,” MBF spokesman, Dr Isuwa Dogo said.
The forum which said Mailafia’s death at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, was a great shock as someone who relentlessly participated in the activities of the MBF, adding that his untimely death has dealt a deadly blow on ethnic nationalities of not only the Middle Belt but the country at large.
On the circumstances that led to Mailafia’s death, the Middle Belt said his wife who had opposed to the idea of taking her husband to Gwagwalada, only succumbed when the consultant assured her that nothing bad would 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 former 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 had 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.
“While the above narration sums up the circumstances under which Dr Mailafia died, we still await the result of the actual cause of his death. As a nationalist and patriot that he was, Dr Mailafia was completely dedicated to the emancipation of ethnic nationalities from the clutches of oppression. The economist was never afraid to speak truth to power just as he remained committed to the enthronement of justice and equity to all citizens across ethnic and religious divides,” the Middle Belt said.
Also yesterday, the leaders of the National Consultative Front (NCFront) vowed to investigate what they called the sudden death of Mailafia, whom they described as its founding member.
Southern and Middle-Belt Alliance (SAMBA) has expressed great shock and sadness over the sudden death of former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Obadiah Mailafia, stating that only independent autopsy can reveal the cause of his death.
The leaders described the late financial expert as a relentless freedom fighter for the Indigenes of the Middle Belt and demand immediate independent autopsy on the corpse.
SAMBA in a statement signed by their spokesman, Rwang Pam Jnr, made yesterday evening, described Dr. Mailafia as the “Martin Luther King Jr” of Nigeria.
The statement further read, “Regardless, in his last engagement with SAMBA on Saturday, 28th August 2021, when he spoke on the theme: Political alignment between the South and the Middle Belt towards 2023 elections via a zoom meeting hosted by Elombah Television, late Dr Mailafia expressed fear for his life but said he would not stop saying the truth.
“We therefore call for an immediate, transparent and full investigation into the cause of his death, as well as an independent autopsy to be carried out on his body before his burial.”