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Enugu Neuropsychiatric Hospital: Union Raises Alarm Over Huge Numbers of Ghost Workers

From   Ignatius  Okpara, Enugu

…Gives Health Minister 2-Week Ultimatum to Intervene in Ongoing Crisis

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The over four years crisis rocking the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, has aggravated, as its workers union has given  two-week ultimatum to the Minister of Health, Prof. Issac Adewole to intervene or they will  embark on industrial action.

They also raised alarm of increasing number of ghost workers in the hospital, which according to them has been a serious cog in the wheel of progress of the medical centre.

African Examiner recalled that the hospital has not known peace in the past four years, owing to lingering  crisis occasioned by alleged dictatorship and highhandedness  by the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Jojo Onwukwe.

This time, the workers have alleged that Onwukwe, had refused to enlist them in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System, IPPIS, owing to increasing number of ghost workers in the payroll.

The Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, had earlier issued a 21-day ultimatum to the management of the hospital over a litany of issues.

JOHESU’s ultimatum borders on withheld salaries and arrears from February 2017 till date; withheld promotion arrears, withheld teaching allowance and enrollment of the hospital into the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System, IPPIS.

The ultimatum was signed by Comrades Ozurumba Anthony, Onu Bank-Anthony, Sims Nwawgu, Ugwu Eric. A. Eze Mathew and Oduru Friday on behalf of the JOHESU affilaiete bodies.

One week to the expiration of the ultimatum, another workers’ union, in a letter dated January 19, addressed to the health minister, has vowed to shut down the hospital if nothing was done to correct anomalies allegedly being perpetuated by the Medical Director, Dr. Jojo Onwukwe.

In the letter by the University Graduates of Nursing Science Association, UGONSA, signed by its president, Chief S.E.O Egwuenu and the secretary, Nurse Goodluck Nshi, the group alleged that there was escalating rascality, highhandedness, corruption and abuse of civil service rules by the medical director.

The group said: “the current situation in the hospital if not checked will result in a breach of peace and a breakdown of law and order.”

According to the letter, peace would not return to the hospital without the immediate implementation of the report of a panel earlier sent to the hospital by the minister.

“The immediate implementation of the report of the panel will go a long way in restoring peace and harmony in the troubled hospital. We, therefore, call for immediate implementation of that report without further delay.

“We are outraged that the Medical Director has boasted that he has an insider in the ministry who he settles with money and that is why the report has not been and will never be implemented. This appears to be the reason he gets away with the embezzlement, corruption, violation of civil service rules and all other impunities in the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu.”

The workers, among other things, accused Onwukwe of grounding activities at the School of Post Basic Psychiatric Nursing, of the hospital, simply because of his personal interest, stressing that owing to his actions, the school had already lost its accreditation.

Among other alleged vindictive actions against the school, they further claimed that “he has refused to pay accreditation fee to the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, despite demand letters from the council in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Finally, the council has withdrawn accreditation to the school.

“We demand that Dr. Jojo Onwukwe be held accountable for the closing of the only school of Psychiatric Nursing in the South-East, Nigeria as a result of his vindictiveness.”

Onwukwe was also accused of unlawful promotion of two nursing staff from the position of Assistant Directors of Nursing Sciences, ANDS, to Deputy Directors of Nursing Sciences, DDNS, refusal to pay electricity bills, thereby throwing the entire nursing school into darkness for over one year, wrongful engagement of his brother, illegal locum staff, severing of headship from seniority, manipulation of posts, refusal to enroll in IPPS, among others.

“Onwukwe has refused to enrol the hospital into IPPIS when all other hospital in Nigeria have entered IPPIS because he had ghost workers, retired staff, dead, staff, and relatives receiving money directly from the ministry and he is over 60 years and his age cannot fit into the IPPIS paying platform.

“We demand that Dr. Onwukwe be instructed to enter IPPIS or henceforth no money should be released to him for payment of salary until he enrolls.”

Also in the letter, the workers alleged that Onwuke had perfected plans to install his brother as successor upon his retirement early next year.

“In a bid to further cement the plot to make Dr. Acho, his brother, the most senior consultant, which he is not, and reposition him to succeed him as the medical director, Dr. Jojo Onwukwe interdicted Dr. Bakari (the most senior consultant) on the flimsy excuse of abandoning his official duty without permission, despite the fact that Dr. Bakari took permission both orally and written before leaving for an academic conference.

“Dr. Onwukwe did not see this permission letter because he does not come to work regularly and does not reside in Enugu”, they further alleged.

They, therefore, appealed to the minister to intervene and restore normalcy in the hospital by resolving all the crisis in line with public service rules.

“We are giving our final two-week ultimatum in line with labour laws for curbing of the aforementioned escalating rascality, corruption and high handedness of the MD and to protect our members who are now endangered species in the hospital.”

 

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