A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, passed on in the early hours of Sunday at the National Hospital, Abuja at midnight after a brief illness at the age of 64.
Luka Binniyat, the spokesman of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), confirmed Mailafia’s death in a telephone chat on Sunday. Binniyat said Mailafia, who took refuge in Markudi, Benue state, following alleged persistent harassment by the Department of State Security Services (DSS), fell sick on Saturday and was rushed to an Abuja hospital. “You know, following his harassment by the DSS, he has been taking refuge from place to place. “The last place he went to take refuge is Markudi. Yesterday (Saturday), he took ill and he was rushed to the hospital that he normally attend in Abuja.
“This morning, he was pronounced dead”, Binniyat said.
The former CBN 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 B.Sc. Also had B.Sc Honors Social Sciences degree (Politics, Economics, and Sociology). He also has an M.Sc. from the same institution.
He subsequently won a French Government Scholarship to France, where he earned a Certificate in French Language and Civilization 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.
He joined partisan politics in 2018 amid the rising killings in Southern Kaduna.
Despite losing, he remained an ardent government critic and got into trouble with the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari when he alleged that a northern governor was a Boko Haram commander.
This earned multiple invitations by the Nigeria Police Force, forcing him to recant his statement.
In his last interview with The PUNCH, Mailafia said the refusal of the CBN to sell foreign exchange to bureau de change operators may not yield the expected result because corrupt bankers would frustrate it while the BDC operators were being shielded by a “Jigawa cabal”.
He had also lamented that Nigeria was operating a “dollarized” economy which was hampering economic growth.