The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, through an investigative pane it set up, has indcted a former Chief Medical Director of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ile-Ife, Dr Olumuyiwa Owojuyigbe of job racketeering, employing 1,973 workers in excess of waiver granted the hospital.
The panel also said this was the reason behind the non payment of some health workers at the OAUTH.
The investigative panel, led by Dr Aderemi Azeez, found that Dr Owojuyigbe, was involved in over-employment and job racketeering in the hospital, without provision in the personnel budget.
According to the panel, Owojuyigbe employed over 1,973 staff in the hospital as against the 450 vacancies waiver granted in the 2022 employment by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
Ripples Nigeria recalls that some health workers had tackled the management of OAUTH for allegedly subjecting them to penury over 10 months of unpaid salaries, lamenting that they resorted to begging to feed their families due to the hardship the non-payment of salaries had subjected them to.
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The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate, had also on his verified X handle @muhammadpate on October 13, stated 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 wrote.
However, in a statement signed by the Director of Press at the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Patricia Deworitshe, the ministry said that it waded into the matter to set the record straight.
The statement titled, ‘OAUTH Ife and the unrest,’ noted that the unrest was attributed to the alleged job racketeering, and over-employment saga under Owojuyigbe, which the ministry termed “flagrant abuse of extant rules and regulations.”
The statement partly read: “The hospital conducted the exercise in two phases (230 and 220) after securing the 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.”
According to the report by the investigative panel, 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, Dr Owojuyigbe, who was appointed in acting capacity in March 2023, 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,” the statement added.