The Middle Belt Forum says the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia was shabbily treated by doctors at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja.
The 64-year-old development economist died at the hospital on Sunday morning.
Luka Binniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) had said Mailafia, who took refuge in Makurdi, Benue state, following alleged persistent harassment by the Department of State Services (DSS), fell sick and was rushed to an Abuja hospital where he was pronounced dead on Sunday.
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 for public sector and exchange rate reforms.
Mailafia was born on December 24, 1956, in the Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
He later graduated top of his class at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1978 with a BSc degree.
Mailafia was appointed deputy governor of CBN in 2005 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) where he served as the chief economist responsible for Strategic Planning and Corporate Reporting.
National Publicity Secretary of MBF, Dr. Isuwa Dogo, in a statement on Sunday night provided a detailed insight into how the former CBN boss died.
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 condition 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 from 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 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 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 about 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 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.
“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.”