A Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare investigative panel has unveiled the reasons behind the non-payment of salaries to some health workers at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ile-Ife, Osun State. The panel, led by Dr. Aderemi Azeez, found that the hospital’s former Chief Medical Director, Dr. Olumuyiwa Owojuyigbe, engaged in excessive hiring and job racketeering.
The panel revealed that Owojuyigbe recruited over 1,973 staff members, far exceeding the 450 vacancies waiver granted by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation for 2022 employment. This over-employment has been linked to the financial strain leading to unpaid salaries for over ten months, causing severe hardship for the affected health workers.
Health Minister Prof. Muhammad Pate, addressing the issue on his verified Twitter handle, acknowledged the completed investigation and the difficulties faced by numerous health workers. He committed to resolving the situation equitably.
The ministry’s statement, titled ‘OAUTH Ife and the unrest’, described the situation as a “flagrant abuse of extant rules and regulations.” The hospital conducted the recruitment in two phases, hiring 600 instead of the approved 230 in the first phase and 1,823 instead of 220 in the second phase. This resulted in a total of 2,423 staff members being recruited instead of the sanctioned 450.
Further, the panel’s report indicated that of the 450 staff waiver, only 55 clinical staff were employed, with the rest being non-clinical, disrupting the recommended staff ratio. Many recruited staff lacked the necessary academic and professional qualifications. Dr. Owojuyigbe has been absent from his post since July 2023, and his co-culprit, Mr. Balogun Tajudeen, the acting Director of Administration, has been suspended.
The revelation of massive job racketeering at OAUTH under the leadership of Dr. Olumuyiwa Owojuyigbe is a stark reminder of the challenges facing Nigeria’s public sector. This scandal not only highlights the issue of corruption but also underscores the systemic flaws in the recruitment processes within public institutions.
The over-employment at OAUTH, leading to financial strain and unpaid salaries, is a grave injustice to the health workers who have been forced into hardship. This situation is unacceptable and demands accountability from those responsible. The actions of Dr. Owojuyigbe and his associates represent a betrayal of trust and a disregard for the rules and regulations governing public service employment.
We urge the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to take stringent measures to prevent such occurrences in the future. This includes implementing robust oversight mechanisms and ensuring transparency in recruitment processes. The ministry must also ensure that those affected by this scandal are adequately compensated and that justice is served.
This incident should serve as a wake-up call for all public institutions in Nigeria to uphold integrity and accountability in their operations. It is essential to restore public confidence in the system and ensure that such flagrant abuses of power do not recur.
Did You Know?
- OAUTH’s History: The Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, established in 1975, is one of Nigeria’s foremost teaching hospitals.
- Public Sector Employment in Nigeria: The Nigerian public sector faces challenges such as corruption, nepotism, and inefficiency in recruitment processes.
- Healthcare Workforce: A balanced ratio of clinical to non-clinical staff is crucial for the efficient functioning of healthcare institutions.
- Civil Service Regulations: The Nigerian Civil Service has specific rules and regulations governing employment to ensure fairness and efficiency.
- Impact of Corruption: Corruption in public sector employment can lead to financial strain, inefficiency, and a decline in service quality, affecting the well-being of citizens.