The authorities at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) have described as “false and inaccurate” the allegation of poor management of the former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Obadiah Mailafia, by the staffers of the facility.
The hospital’s management exclusively confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday evening that Mr Mailafia died of coronavirus disease “due to comorbidities.”
This revelation was reluctantly made by the hospital’s management, which had insisted that the confidentiality of its patients is sacrosanct.
According to the hospital’s chief medical director, Bissallah Ekele, a professor, Mr Mailafia had been managed at two other hospitals where his COVID-19 status was confirmed positive before being referred to the UATH’s isolation centre “when his case had fast degenerated.”
On Sunday, Nigerians received with shock the news of the death of the financial expert and a former presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), in the 2019 general elections.
Mr Mailafia’s vociferous positions on national issues and sharp criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s alleged poor governance capacity may have informed the concerns and suspicions raised by some Nigerians on the cause of his death.
An ethno-regional group, the Middle Belts Forum, on Sunday, issued a statement accusing the hospital of misconduct in the treatment of the late 64-year-old.
The statement, which was signed by the group’s national publicity secretary, Isuwa Dogo, claimed that the wife of the deceased was requested to make a deposit of N600,000 before proper treatment.
The statement also said when Mr Mailafia complained that he had breathing problems and pleaded with the doctors at the hospital to place him on a ventilator, he was”flatly refused.”
In his reaction, Mr Ekele described all the allegations against the hospital as false, even as our reporter was conducted round the health facility on Monday.
He said: “I can confirm in my honor that all the allegations circulating in the media are false. We never asked for any deposit before commencement of treatment. The doctor on duty that day was on ground and received the patient and he was never at any point refused oxygen. In fact, he was placed on a high-flow-oxygen to enable fast breathing.”
Mr Ekele said the late Mailafia had COVID-19 with other comorbidities and that his situation was already severe before he was referred to the facility.
“It was unfortunate that his health deteriorated rapidly despite all efforts to save his life”, he explained.
The medical director also questioned the motive of those he said were spreading what he described as fake news. He said the leadership of the Middle Belts Forum never approached the hospital before issuing its statement.
The doctor, who was on duty at the hospital’s infectious disease centre when Mr Mailafia was brought into the facility on Saturday, Usman Galadima, said he was surprised to read the allegations flying around on social media.