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  • News - South West - Osun
  • Updated: February 14, 2024

Job racketeering: Police disperse OAUTHC protesting workers

Job racketeering: Police disperse OAUTHC protesting workers

Protesting Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, workers were on Tuesday dispersed by personnel of the Nigeria Police.

The workers were protesting their sack over alleged job racketeering by the hospital management.

 It was gathered that the protest was disrupted by the policemen with gunshots, tear gas canisters, shells, and other ammunition, which caused duress, and panic in the Emergency and Accident section of the hospital complex.

Some eyewitnesses revealed that the ongoing recruitment was also aborted due to the unsafe environment caused by the disruption of the protest by the police, which was considered inappropriate in a hospital premises.

The management of the teaching hospital had in a memo signed by the acting Director of Administration, O. Omonije, and dated January 31, 2024, retained 68 and laid off about 2,000 workers recruited through alleged job racketeering that took place from early 2022 to 2023.

The sacked employees worked for over 12 months without the IPPIS capturing. It was said they got an open circular disengaging the staff members who were recruited in 2022 and had not been captured.

They were asked to vacate the hospital premises and stop coming to work. On February 1, the affected workers said to have been provoked by this action, started a protest against the management.

A protester, who simply identified herself as Adenike, said the protesters were dispersed by police officers during the peaceful demonstration, which placed a huge risk on the lives of the protesters, patients, and visitors in the hospital.

“It was just a harmless and peaceful gathering. They repeated the same thing they did last week Monday. Our peaceful protest was hijacked by the police last week Monday, and just last week, we got the news that there would be a new recruitment where people would be made to write an exam.

“This injustice made our leaders think of a way to stop the examination from holding. To the glory of God, it did not hold yesterday. Today was supposed to be for clinicals, and our men gathered again to stop people from writing the exam.

“A few minutes later, police vans arrived, throwing tear gas canisters on the people, and shooting in the air. Mind you, the location where the exam was to hold is in the auditorium adjacent to the Accident and Emergency unit. Innocent staff members were also arrested but have been released,” she said.

Another protester, Samson Falope, alleged that the action of the cops was masterminded by the management as he urged the government to intervene.

“This institution for days now has not been peaceful. Even today, we had an issue of them shooting in the emergency environment in the hospital community. It is quite unfortunate that this could be happening.

“We are calling on the minister of health to caution Professor Okeniyi. We have been employed, you cannot just disengage us. It is uncalled for to disengage people, who have been employed, we are less concerned about whatever waiver he is talking about. What we are asking for is our capturing into the system, payment of our salary, and everything will come back to normalcy,” he said.

However, the OAUTH management reacted to the protest in a statement released on Tuesday, to address the alleged illegal recruitment and job racketeering from the 2022 recruitment.

I“Under the direct supervision, and guidance of the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Abuja, the OAUTHC was tasked with suitability tests for individuals involved in the over-establishment within specific cadres. These appointments were to be made under the June 2022 waiver.

“Unfortunately, during this process, miscreants and protesters, some of whom were armed, forcibly occupied the hospital premises. They held key staff members hostage and obstructed interested individuals from participating in the interview process. Local security personnel were present but unable to prevent these disruptions.”

The management informed the public that the hospital was given a directive from the FMoH&SW to suspend the recruitment under the June 2022 waiver, until normalcy was restored.

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