NGOs Vow To Drag Health Minister To Court Over AppointmentIgnatius Okpara, Latest News, News Monday, February 17th, 2014
…Petition ICPC, Senate, Others
IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu
Two Enugu based non-governmental organizations, NGOs have vowed to drag Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigerian’s minister of Health, and the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu to court over the recent appointment of one Oduburu Cecilia as the Principal of the School of Post Basic Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Enugu.
The NGOs are, Hard Truth International and the Movement of Voice of Democracy, (Movers Nigeria).
Our correspondent reports that the institution is attached to the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, and the only one Eastern part of Nigeria.
Already, the development African Examiner gathered has started building up tension among staff and students of the institution, as they are not happy with the new appointment.
The two NGOs had in a petition made available to African Examiner on Sunday in Enugu, which was copied to the Nigerian Senate, the Independent Corrupt Practices And other Related Offences Commission ICPC, among others, accused the minister of running the hospital as his private enterprise.
They said the minister unduly influenced the hospital board to make the appointment without due process.
The organizations also alleged that the recent appointment was in total violation of the civil service rules of Nigeria, and therefore, should be cancelled immediately.
They equally alleged that contrary to Civil Service Rules, Mrs. Oduburu was appointed the principal of the school simply because she hails from Ebonyi, home state of the minister.
The petitioners, further alleged that even though the board has not met, an appointment letter issued on behalf of the board, has already been given to Obuduru, creating room for speculations that the minister influenced her appointment.
The groups however, made references to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital UNTH, Enugu, where according to them, rules have continuously been adhered to in making appointments, and wondered why that of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu should be different.
According the petition, signed by Chief Muojekwu Uhanadoeze, and Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo“ Mrs. Cecilia Oduburu undertook a four-year full time degree programme in Nursing at the University of Nigeria while in the service receiving full salaries, advancement and other financial benefits during the four years in question.
“The personnel record of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu is open to lift facts evidencing how Mrs. Cecelia Oduburu acquired her B.sc and M.sc in Nursing.
“The standing practice and rule in the Federal Establishment even in states is that an employee cannot embark on any academic programme without a written notification and consent of the management.
“The non-challant decision of Mrs. Oduburu Cecilia to defraud the Federal Government for four years is no doubt a serious misconduct. The later decision of the same woman to defraud the Federal government for two years is no doubt a gross misconduct.
“Stealing government time, defrauding her employer and federal government all tantamount to gross violation of the Civil Service Rules of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The consequences of such violation are and may not be restricted to full refund of all salaries and allowances earned during those six years period of study without official approval and permission or non-recognition of the certificates obtained in those years under review because the whole programme is done with bad intent and under fraudulent circumstances”.
The group also noted with displeasure that “Oduburu threatens and intimidates her colleagues with her acclaimed fraternity with the minister of health, Mrs. Oduburu assumes herself as Almighty Julius Caesar boasting that the Hon. Minster of Health hails from the same state with her.
“We believe that the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital is a federal government institution where ethnic embers should not be considered in the positive choices of leadership.
“Rather than decorating Oduburu with undue elevation, we urge the Board to investigate her record and discipline her in accordance with the prescription of the rules. Fraud has no other name outside fraud. Illegality is illegality.
The organizations, therefore, demanded that “the petition should be viewed seriously to avoid a total breakdown of law and order in the school and hospital as a whole. The fact that she is connected to the Hon. Minister of Health, who is also from her state and has been pushing for her to be placed in that position, should not make her a sacred cow”.
“Our position is very clear, the board should not engage or be part of such an illegal act. Mrs. Oduburu’s B.sc and Masters Certificates should not be recognized by the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital. The six years salary earned unjustly during that time should be reversed.
“She should automatically be disqualified and should not be considered for the post of Principal of the Post Basic School of Psychiatry of the institution because her certificates are null and void having been obtained in violation of gazette Civil Service Rule of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, they added.
They stated “we have finished our investigation and ready to take the matter to court while waiting for the decision of the board of the Hospital. We understood that the previous board was deliberating on conversion of junior staff but not senior staff before they were dissolved”.
“There is no letter to the final resolution of the issue by the then board, however, do the board or the medical director has the jurisdiction to pardon somebody that violated civil service rules? The groups queried.
Contacted for her reaction, Mrs. Oduburu simply said, “I am a civil servant and I am aware you know that I am not permitted to talk to the press, I have a boss, so direct all your enquiries to my boss. Thank you”.
However, a text message was equally sent to Dr. Onwuke, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, but he never responded.
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