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Monday, March 4, 2024

Minister says verdict is almost ready, advises gangsters to leave service

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The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, has reacted for the umpteenth time to the lingering crisis at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) over alleged labor fraud that has led to non-payment of some workers for almost a year.

Pate, in a statement shared on the Federal Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Channel

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In early November 2023, PREMIUM TIMES reported that the ministry issued a statement signed by its media director, Patricia Deworitshe, confirming the accusation of some hospital officials, including a former acting chief medical director, Afolabi Owojuyigbe, of engaging in labor racketeering. .

The ministry said an inquiry panel led by Aderemi Azeez found that Owojuyigbe carried out over-employment at the hospital, with no provision in the staff budget.

According to the statement, the panel revealed that Mr Owojuyigbe, a consultant anesthetist, employed over 1,973 persons against the exemption for 450 vacancies granted to the hospital by the federal government in the 2022 employment process.

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Owojuyigbe and “his accomplices” are therefore guilty of labor extortion, according to the panel.

The workers murmur

Meanwhile, as a result of the development, many of the employed workers have not received their salaries for about a year since their employment. However, the government insists that the employment is illegal and that it has no money to pay “illegal” employees.

However, affected workers have taken to social media to accuse the government of subjecting them to misery.

They said the ministry is deliberately delaying the process to frustrate them and leave them out of work.

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Minister responds

However, the minister has said the ministry is still working to resolve the problem, stating that many of those hired illegally are non-clinical workers “and there is no money in the hospital to pay them.”

In a statement shared Monday on

He clarified that “the problem is mainly poor management of labor issues by the OAUTH with the connivance between a few civil actors in the institution, some corrupt individuals and many desperate job seekers.”

READ ALSO: Nigerian government charges hospital’s chief medical director for labor extortion

He said OAUTH was reportedly approved to hire 450 healthcare workers, but “unfortunately, almost 2,000 additional job/employment offers were given above the number.”

“Now, the dilemma is how to differentiate the truly legal employees from the illegal ones,” he said.

Resolution

The Minister revealed in the statement that the ministry “will soon take some of the difficult decisions and, at the same time, avoid as far as possible the shame of the innocent.”

He pleaded that those committing extortion should “quietly consider moving forward while we find ways to resolve it for the most innocent caught in this mess.”

About Owojuyigbe

PREMIUM TIMES learned that Mr. Owojuyigbe was appointed acting CMD of the teaching 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 director of the hospital facility, Lekan Ganiyu, was also suspended.

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