.Workers give health minister 14-day ultimatum to intervene
The internal crisis rocking the Federal Neuropychiatric Hospital Enugu has taken another dimension as the workers have given the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, a 14-day ultimatum to intervene over management handling of the affairs of the hospital.
The crisis followed a failed peace move initiated by the Enugu State Police Commissioner, Danmalam Muhammad at the weekend.
Daily Times correspondent gathered that the police chief had invited all the warring parties in the health institution with hope of finding a common ground.
However, it was learnt that as soon as the parties returned to the hospital, the Medical Director, Dr. Jojo Onwukwe, who was also at the peace parley, issued query to all the staff who were present at the meeting with the CP, except his allies.
The development has already sparked fresh round of crisis in the institution with the two nurses’ associations, the University Graduate Nursing Sciences Association (UGONSA) and the Association of Psychiatric Nurses of Nigeria, (APNON) in the area vowing to mobilize for a major industrial unrest.
The workers have therefore, given a 14-day ultimatum to the Minister of State for Health to tackle all the management issues affecting the hospital or have the battle shift to the National Assembly
In a press statement made available to journalists in Enugu on Monday, which was obtained by The Daily Times, the national secretary of UGONSA, G.I Nshi called on the Federal Ministry of Health to intervene and save the hospital from unavoidable crisis.
The group said it was strange that several months after a panel, sent from the Federal ministry of health visited the hospital, its recommendations were yet to be implemented.
They added that the minister of state for health had equally visited the hospital but was yet to take any action on the endless crisis.
The group, therefore, called on the ministry to look into the decade-long crisis in the hospital.
“We are using this medium to alert the Federal Ministry of health to the looming fresh crisis at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu.
“As concerned citizens of Nigeria and workers in the hospital, we cannot continue to fold our hands and watch the obvious victimization and threat of workers, as well as abuse of office by the Medical Director, Jojo Onwukwe.
“We have tried to maintain the peace in the hospital, but the management through its cronies, is not ready to heed to any form of peace moves.“It has remained clear that the Medical Director is hell-bent on clamping down on his perceived enemies in the hospital, who he believes to have instigated a criminal case against his personal secretary, Mrs. Stella Achara.
“This is despite the public knowledge that Mrs. Achalla is standing trial not for union matters but for allegedly defrauding over 50 job seekers.
“Shockingly, the MD has resorted to self-help by coming after members of staff, who he believes instigated the victims of the fraud into taking up the matter. As a result, the said staff, mostly in the school of Nursing, were now under the MD’s daily attack, which he launches through one of his attack dogs, one Andrew Orovwigho.
The said Andrew is hiding under SERVICOM, to harass life out of them. “While he issued query to some staff for attending peace parley initiated by the Enugu CP, nothing has been said of the MD’s secretary, Mrs. Achara, her children and brother who had been absent from work repeatedly.
“We also have a case where a senior worker, in the position of ADN, has been asked to hand over the emergency unit of the hospital to a junior officer in the level of CNO. No other persecution could be more than this.
“Following these developments, we are calling for the immediate implementation of the report of the Federal ministry of health’s visitation panel. We believe that this is the only thing that will bring about a lasting peace in the hospital.“
“We may not guarantee industrial peace any longer if action was not taken to stop this endless intimidation, victimisation and abuse of office by the MD.“It is getting to a point where all the nurses in the country will be mobilized to the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu in order to end this impunity.”
“We, therefore, urge the Honourable Minister of State for Health to come to our aid and save these workers from such a humiliating experience.”The workers said should the ministry fail to accede to their requests, they would take the matter to the National Assembly.”
“We can’t continue to keep quiet in the face of tyranny. We will take the matter before the both health committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives if the report is not implemented within 14 days”, the workers vowed.
Meanwhile, a reliable source in the Federal ministry of health told journalists in confidence that the panel, among other things recommended that the MD be caused to activate the process of appointment of a substantive assistant director/HOD administration.
“Cause the MD to place Mrs. Achara on suspension as required by the rule until the determination of the case by the court; “To ratify as substantive the acting appointment of the principal of the school of nursing;“Direct immediate conduct of 2017 senior staff promotion exercise with the participation of eligible ADNs;“Direct all parties to sheath their sword.”
Efforts made to reach the medical Director (MD), Dr. Jojo Onwukwe, for comments proved abortive as his ranged severally without responding.