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Panel Indicts OAUTH Ex-CMD Of Massive Job Racketeering

An investigative panel set up by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has disclosed why some health workers at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, OAUTH, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Southwest Nigeria, have been unpaid.

Gatekeepers News reports that the investigative panel, led by Dr Aderemi Azeez, indicted the former Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Afolabi Owojuyigbe in the investigation.

According to the report, Owojuyigbe was involved in over-employment and job racketeering in the hospital, without provision in the personnel budget.

The panel disclosed that he 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.

Some health workers alleged that the management of OAUTH subjected them to penury over 10 months by not paying their salaries.

They lamented that they resorted to begging to feed their families due to the hardship of the non-payment of salaries.

The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate, on his verified X handle @muhammadpate on October 13, however, stated that an investigation had been completed on the matter.

The minister wrote, “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.”

In the statement titled, ‘OAUTH Ife and the unrest”, and 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 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, however, 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.

“When our correspondent asked about the fate of the workers and if they would be paid, the ministry replied, “The office of the Head of the Civil Service is investigating, as that is the only Office that grants waivers to all public institutions.”

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