Some recently disengaged staff of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Ile-Ife, Osun State, on Thursday, staged a protest, claiming that they were illegally recruited by the former hospital management. The protesters demanded salary payments and compensation for their 14 months of work before being disengaged.
In a memo dated January 31, 2024, the hospital management, through its Acting Director of Administration O. Omonije, retained 68 workers, and terminated about 2,000 others recruited through alleged job racketeering from early 2022 to 2023.
The memo explained that the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation had approved the recruitment of only 450 workers before the racketeering occurred and listed 68 employees for the new recruitment in compliance with the Head of Service's approval, warning others recruited outside the approval to stop identifying as hospital workers.
Addressing the controversies on Friday, the Chief Medical Director, Dr. John Okeniyi, insisted that those asked to stop identifying themselves as staff were illegally recruited by the past management.
Okeniyi stated that the decision to refund money for medicals was to demonstrate fairness to the victims of the racketeering. He said, “It is sad that the illegality of the 2022 recruitments and job racketeering perpetrated by a few staff members has severally tainted the public image of our highly industrious and patriotic staff members, our vibrant hospital, the federal ministry, and the Federal Government.
“It is however noteworthy that the illegality has been repeatedly brought to the sufficient notice of the public and the victims (many of whom wilfully engaged in the criminality just to secure themselves jobs).
“Even after the suspension of officers involved and the sufficient notice granted by the Federal Ministry of Health, many have persistently insisted that they are legitimate staff members, and this narrative is categorically false.”
The CMD, who condemned what he described as threats meted out to officials of the teaching hospital, added, “Indeed, they have circulated leaflets threatening death to officers, Staff, and patients.
“The management is not insensible to the protest and unrest occasioned by the mandate to implement the 2022 approved waiver in line with the recommendations and approval of the FMoH&SW. Nevertheless, we cannot offer non-existent job positions and we all must face reality".