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Nigerian Govt Indicts Hospital’s Chief Medical Director of Job Racketeering

The statement termed the conduct of the teaching hospital chief and his accomplices as a “flagrant abuse of extant rules and regulations.”

An investigative panel set up by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare on Sunday revealed why some health workers at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ile-Ife, Osun State, have been unpaid for months.

The investigative panel led by Aderemi Azeez found that the former Acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Afolabi Owojuyigbe, carried out over-employment in the hospital, without provision in the personnel budget. Mr Owojuyigbe and his accomplices are also culpable of job racketeering, according to the panel.

The ministry confirmed the development in a statement signed by its Director of Press, Patricia Deworitshe, noting that the government waded into the matter to set the record straight.

According to the statement, the panel disclosed that Mr Owojuyigbe, a Consultant Anaesthetist, employed over 1,973 staff as against the waiver for 450 vacancies granted to the hospital in the 2022 employment process by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

Protests

There were reports that some health workers accused the management of OAUTH of subjecting them to penury over unpaid salaries for 10 months.

The accusers lamented that they resorted to begging to feed their families “due to the hardship the non-payment of their salaries subjected them to.”

Many had also accused the hospital management of commercialising the job opportunities by allegedly selling the slots for as high as N500,000.

In response to the allegations, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, on his verified X handle @muhammadpate on 13 October, confirmed that an investigation had been completed on the matter.

“We are addressing the OAUTH situation. The investigation has just been completed on this unfortunate situation. We understand the difficulties being faced by numerous innocent health workers and will do our best to resolve it equitably,” the minister posted at the time.

Findings

In a statement on Sunday by the ministry, which is titled, ‘OAUTH Ife and the Unrest,’ it noted that the unrest was attributed to the alleged job racketeering, and over-employment saga under Mr Owojuyigbe.

The statement termed the conduct of Mr Owojuyigbe and his accomplices as “flagrant abuse of extant rules and regulations.”

The statement reads in part, “The hospital conducted the exercise in two phases (230 and 220) after securing approval of the Federal Character Commission not to advertise the posts.

“During the first phase, the hospital recruited 600 instead of 230, and a total of 1,823 staff members were recruited in the second phase instead of 220.

“At the end of the two phases, the hospital recruited 2,423 staff instead of 450. As such, 1,973 staff members were recruited in excess of the approved waiver.”

The report by the investigative panel further showed that the 450 workers waiver granted to OAUTH was for the recruitment of clinical staff, but only 55 clinical staff were employed, while others were non-clinical staff.

“The outcome of the recruitment exercise also revealed that OAUTH has a staff strength of 7,279 (out of which 3,034 were clinical staff and 4,245 were non-clinical staff, this translates to a non-clinical staff ratio of approximately 1:1 instead of the recommended 3:1, that is, three clinical to one non-clinical).”

It further stated that many recruited staff were without requisite academic and professional certificates as well as evidence of National Youth Service Corps certificates.

“Currently, Mr Owojuyigbe, who was appointed in acting capacity in March 2022, has absconded from his duty post since July 2023, while his co-culprit, Mr Balogun Tajudeen, who was the Acting Director, Administration, has been suspended for their involvement in the job racketeering saga,” it added.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr Owojuyigbe was appointed the Acting CMD of the hospital in March 2022 when the then substantive CMD, Victor Adetiloye, a professor, left the office.

This newspaper also confirmed that apart from Messrs Owojuyigbe and Tajudeen who were suspended in July, the hospital’s Director of Establishment, Lekan Ganiyu, was also suspended.

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