Dr Obadiah Mailafiya is an economist who is a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and was a candidate for the office of President in the 2019 Presidential Elections. He holds a PhD from the University of Oxford.
On Monday 10, August 2020, Dr Mailafiya gave an interview on the ongoing killings in Southern Kaduna to a Nigerian radio station, Nigeria Info 99.3FM. In the course of the interview, he made the following comments and revelations:
- that the immediate crisis dates back to 2018 when the king of his community, Adara land, was ambushed on returning from a meeting with the State Governor Mallam Ahmed El Rufai; that in the course of that ambush the king’s wife was raped in his presence before he was brutally murdered after taking a ransom;
- that the current cycle of killings of his people in Southern Kaduna had been ongoing since January 2020;
- that the position the Presidency has taken on the matter, as communicated by the President’s media aide, Garba Shehu is that “the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically motivated banditry and revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds”;
- that when the elders of Adara land went to protest the killing of their king to Govenor El Rufai, they were imprisoned without charge for a year before being released;
- that the attacks against his people by Fulani bandits have continued unabated and these attacks are “very serious, well calculated and well strategized killings”;
- that a pastor and his brother, who went to protest against the assaults, were both summarily beheaded within hours of one another;
- that the State Governor, El Rufai, confessed a few years ago that these killings were politically motivated and that an official delegation had travelled to Mali, Chad and Niger to find the ringleaders of those who killed the people of Southern Kaduna, and had paid them an undisclosed sum of money to dissuade them from further killings of the people of Southern Kaduna;
- that the Northern Establishment have a special hatred for the people of Southern Kaduna, Plateau and Benue;
- that claims that the killings in Southern Kaduna are “farmer-herder clashes” are not true and that these killings are in fact part of a continuation of the Fulani jihad;
- that there is reason to believe that the Army is complicit in these killings because whenever they intervene to impose a curfew, they first disarm his people of the limited weaponry they have for self-defense before allowing fully armed and equipped jihadists to come in and kill, rape and mutilate his disarmed people with impunity;
- that government is not only unwilling to stop these attacks but is actually aiding and abetting the killings. This has worsened to the point that even during Lockdown these bandits were allowed free movement of personnel and supplies for their attacks and they have been bringing in dollars and weaponry from the Middle East by private jets;
- that he has been informed by a repentant commander of Boko Haram that one of the Northern Governors is the commander of Boko Haram;
- that the plan is to start a civil war in Nigeria by 2022 to enable the North to hold on to power.
On 11 August 2020 the Department of State Security arrested Dr Mailafiya presumably on suspicion of having committed a crime by making these revelations, releasing him only on conditional police bail.
On 13 August 2020 it emerged that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a maximum level fine of N5m on the radio station, Nigeria Info 99.3FM for alleged “unprofessional conduct” in the handling of Dr Mailafiya’s interview.
The Fatherland Group is deeply concerned by these comments and revelations which have come from such a credible source as Dr Mailafiya.
We are all the more concerned that rather than act on the information provided by Dr Mailafiya and treat the issues he raised with utmost urgency, the Nigerian government, has instead chosen to effectively arrest Dr Mailafiya. This is a most disturbing course of action, not least because the desperate security situation in Nigeria is a palpable failure of government whose responsibility it is to maintain peace and security of lives. Such a regressive move can only lend further credence to Dr Mailafiya’s claims of official complicity in these security breaches.
The Fatherland Group is further troubled by the conduct of the National Broadcasting Commission, on what is unquestionably a legitimate concern, in using draconian financial sanctions to punishing the radio station for allowing Dr Mailafiya to address the public. This is a counter-productive measure on all counts. For any nation serious about addressing its security challenges, the least it can do is to keep open the space for citizens to ventilate their views. To close down the space for public intellection is to leave open the space for reckless violence. Dr Mailafiya should be hailed, not vilified, for raising consciousness and warning against continued violence
The Fatherland Group calls for a full and open investigation into all claims made by Dr Mailafiya as set out above and for the investigation report to be published. Until then the Fatherland Group advises Nigerians to treat Dr Mailafiya’s claims to be more likely to be true and accurate than not and to take due precautions for their safety and security.
Fatherland Group is a global network of forward thinking Nigerians armed with a new understanding of our past, our present and our future.