Dr Obadiah Mailafia: The man who predicted his own death

Ogunsakin Mustapha
10 Min Read

One year five days after his last invitation  by the Department of State Services, former Presidential aspirant, and former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) died at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja. He was 64 years old.

A technocrat and politician, Dr Obadiah was one of the Nigerians from the North Central that had consistently spoken against the way the Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government had handled the spate of killing of indigenes by bandits who are alleged Fulani herdsmen.

In 2020, Dr Mailafia alleged that a northern governor is a Boko Haram commander. 

Due to this claim, he was invited severally by the DSS to substantiate his claims. He later refuted the claims, saying that he was misinformed by an informant.

At the third invitation, Dr.Mailafia raised an alarm about his safety and alleged that his life is in danger for speaking for the “martyrs” killed in the country in the past years.

Mailafia, who was the Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, disclosed this during an interview, raising the alarm that his life was no longer safe.

He was quoted in the media as saying: “I have been invited to their office in Jos. I have once again (for the 3rd time) been ordered to appear before the DSS at their Jos HQ this coming Monday 14th September at 11.00 am.”

Mailafia said, “I spent over 20 years of my working life abroad as a university teacher, banker and international civil servant with an unblemished record. I have no criminal record — not even a parking ticket. Sadly, it is in my own fatherland that I’m being subjected to criminal investigation and such extreme political persecution.

“Please, pray for me. I have reasons to believe that my life is in danger and that some powerful political forces want to silence me forever for speaking the truth.

“For speaking on behalf of the Holy Martyrs — of thousands of innocent children, women, elderly and youths that have been killed in our beloved country.”

This is the third time the DSS has invited Mailafia since he alleged that a northern governor is among the leaders of the Boko Haram insurgent group.

Mailafia, who is also being investigated by the Nigeria Police Force, got into trouble with security agencies after his interview on Nigeria Info 99.3FM , wherein he claimed that a repentant terrorist told him that a northern governor was a Boko Haram commander.

The former deputy governor of the apex bank had also claimed that during the lockdown, weapons were distributed to several parts of the country, adding that terrorists had infiltrated Lagos.

He later withdrew his comment, stating that he got the information from a third party.

To underscore the seriousness of the threat, Mailafia approached a High Court in Plateau State for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing in a bid to prevent the police from arresting him.

Mailafia said it was unfortunate that two security agencies were investigating him at the same time. “This is one of the reasons why I am in court. I am being invited by the DSS and the police at the same time. It is an abuse of my rights,” he said.

Although the cause of his death is yet to be revealed, the Middle Belt Forum on Sunday provided a detailed insight on how Dr. Mailafia died at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja.

The forum was aghast at how he was  shabbily treated by doctors. The National Publicity Secretary of MBF, Dr. Isuwa Dogo, made the clarification in a statement issued in Abuja.

The statement read, “The death of the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja, this (Sunday) morning came to us as a great shock.

“As someone who relentlessly participated in the activities of the Middle Belt Forum, his untimely death has dealt a deadly blow on ethnic nationalities of not only the Middle Belt but the country at large.

“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 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.

“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.

“Wife of the former CBN Deputy Governor was asked to pay the sum of N 600,000 as a deposit even when it was a referral case, with an 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 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.

“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.

“In the twilight of his life, this consummate technocrat and global scholar of repute beamed his searchlight on the raging insecurity ravaging our country. He expressed regrets over the government’s incapacity to rein in the activities of insurgents and criminal groups terrorising the nation.

“The death of Dr. Mailafia today represents a dark day for not only the Middle Belt but also for all citizens who yearn for a new dawn for justice in Nigeria.”

Efforts to reach officials of the hospital proved abortive as of the time of filing this report.

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