Nigerians received the news of the demise of the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Dr Obadiah Mailafia at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja, with a great shock. But the numbness soon changed to anger when details of the circumstances surrounding his death were made public by the National Publicity Secretary of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Isuwa Dogo.
According to Dr Dogo, “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 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. The 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 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 terrorizing the nation. As a former presidential candidate in the 2019 poll, Dr. Mailafia sought to deploy politics to bring about the dream he had for his country. Even after he lost the election, he never let down the bar in demanding fair treatment for all Nigerians.
The Middle Belt Forum recalled his patriotic zeal in standing up for truth and justice.
“He was never a letdown in being at the forefront of showing the way for national greatness as he was willing to lay down his life for Nigeria. The Forum is inspired by his altruistic disposition and contributions to national development.”
Several Nigerians have called for probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of this outstanding Nigerian from the Middle Belt who devoted his life to the emancipation of near voiceless minorities in the North. The demand for a probe into Dr Mailafia’s death is reinforced by the fact that several months before his demise he raised the alarm that his life is at stake.
In September 2020, the late former CBN deputy governor was the subject of attention following an invitation he got from the Department of State Service, DSS over his statement on radio that a governor in the North-West part of the country was sponsoring bandits in the region. The invitation by the DSS sparked mixed reactions.
Mailafia had issued a statement claiming that his life was in danger “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”.
Addressing newsmen shortly after his interrogation at the Jos office of the SSS, Dr Mailafia said “I had indicated that I have reason to believe that my life has been in danger. I have no conclusive proof, but I got threats in where I was staying on Thursday because I saw some strange people at the gate trying to break in. I jumped the fence and escaped because I didn’t know who they are.”
The death of the Middle Belt activist barely two weeks after declaring that the Fulanisation agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari is real is also a source of concern to Nigerians with the lackadaisical manner he was treated in the hospital and the refusal of the medical team to do everything within their professional competence to save him.
Speaking on September 5 during a special session organized by Forum for Good Governance Towards Revival for All Nations (TRANS 21) with the theme “The Role of the Church in Nation Building” Dr Mailafia alleged the present administration in Nigeria of pushing for the Islamisation and Fulanisation of the country.
Malaifia said “The kind of Islam that is coming from Sahara is dangerous. They want to take over your land and enslave you. Christians must rise to protect it. They want to take over your land and enslave you.
“In the North East alone, more than 3000 churches have been destroyed, more than 400 priests and pastors have been killed. Last year, the CAN chairman of Adamawa was beheaded, even after a ransom was paid. We have been told that the so call bandits, who should not be called bandits because bandits do not bring down military aircraft.”
“No bandit has the capacity to bring down military aircraft. No bandit has the power to attack Nigeria Defence Academy which is the premier institution for the training of armed forces. No bandit has the capacity to do that, only terrorists have the capacity to do that.
“We are being told that this terrorists are part of the insurgency because they did these kidnappings to raise money in order to fund the insurgency.”
On the state of the nation, the Development Economist said all indications pointed to the fact that Nigeria is drifting towards a failed state, saying that the country may soon become ungovernable if nothing is done to check the drift as the country under President Buhari.
He specifically said the country is moving towards the domination of one ethnic group and religion over the other, while Nigeria has fallen from the grace being the most terrorised nation and the poverty capital of the world after India and Afghanistan.
According to him, about two million Nigerians have been killed silently in Nigeria in the last few years with the government unable to tackle the menace of Fulani herdsmen, terrorists and bandits.
He said Nigeria parades about 90 million people who are poor with 50 percent of the figure from the North particularly the North-East and West geopolitical zones, noting Borno, Zamfrara and Yobe States accounted for 70 percent of the figure.
Mailafia said the situation in the North is getting out of hand with no fewer than 20 million of children out of school, lamenting the official unemployment rate in Nigeria is over 33 percent with youth forming 40 percent of the figure.
Melaifia said “Nigeria is now a failed state, unable to perform its statutory roles. Nigeria cannot be described as a nation because the power is not concentrated in the hands of government alone. There are other blocs that now have power of coercion.”
“Rival groups control territory. Boko Haram is in control of over half of Niger State and if they successfully take over Niger, Abuja will be a walkover.
“Government cannot provide security for the people. Nowhere is safe in the country. The forests have been taken over by foreign invaders.
“The economy is collapsing. There is collapse of the institution. Police, Universities’ standards are low. Corruption has taken over in the country. What else do we need to say Nigeria is a failed state?”
He said “Nigeria has been designated as a failed state, we may not say it is a failed state but certainly it is surely exhibiting the features of a failed state in term of the kind of violence, the widespread insecurity, terrorism, abuse of humanity, criminality, rape, killing, maiming, destruction, we are a failing state, the solution is nothing than the need to give birth to a new Nigeria.
“It is clear that the constitution we have presently is a fraud, it is a fraud because it starts with we the people when infact you and I did not sit anywhere to design this constitution, by this fact alone, it is based on lies and fraud.
“In the past, people couldn’t know that because former President Olusegun Obasanjo was a fair minded man and he was dedicated. Umar Masa Yardua (of blessed memory) was also a fair minded man, and because Goodluck Jonathan was a fair minded mind too.
“So people could afford to live with fraudulent constitution, but now today we are seeing a fraudulent constitution in the hands of people who have hidden agenda, who hate our country, they have nothing to offer us.
“Therefore, on this basis, we must reject the evil we are seeing and we must demand for the re-engineering of our federation for the restructuring of our country so that we can have a new Nigeria anchor on social justice, fair representation for all the nationalities of this country and have a government based on transparency, justice and hope for all Nigerians and anchor on devolution of powers, this is the way forward.”
Two weeks after making these deep submissions on the state of the nation Dr Mailafia is no more. Frontline human rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Sunday demanded for a probe on the death of former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and a critic of the current administration, Dr Obadiah Mailafiya, alleging that he may have been extra-legally killed.
In media release endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA regretted that Nigeria seems to have become the killer of her best citizens just as the Rights group said indeed persons who speak truth to power in the past six and half years have come under persistent attacks and pressure from forces embedded within the Nigerian Security Forces and the political class in charge of government at all levels to an extent that even the central ruling party, All Progressives Congress, has gone all out to try to sponsor many toxic, obnoxious and unconstitutional bills all aimed at curtailing the enjoyment of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights recognised in chapter 4 of the Nigerian constitution.
According to HURIWA, exactly one year ago on September 11th 2020 at the height of the incessant harassment by the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police Force, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and a critic of the current administration Dr Mailafiya raised alarm of death threat as follows: “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”.
“There are very unassailable reasons to believe that the alarm he raised which was never investigated may be the harbinger of his sudden demise in Abuja on Sunday September 19th 2021,” argues the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria which is calling for independent investigation on his death.”
It is not only the Middle Belt that lost an advocate of the masses but the entire nation and every Nigerian that is desirous of a just and equitable nation. Dr Mailafia’s demise has left a huge vacuum amongst ethnic minorities in the entire nation and like the death of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, such vacuum may take decades to fill.
It is not only the Middle Belt that lost an advocate of the masses but the entire nation and every Nigerian that is desirous of a just and equitable nation.
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