Joint Health Sector Union members, numbering over 2,000 from the South-East, South-South and South-West, on Tuesday converged on Owerri, the Imo State capital to protest the reinstatement of Dr. Angela Uwakwem as the medical director of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
The five unions that make up JOHESU, namely Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals; Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria; National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives; Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions; and Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Research Institutes, disrupted traffic flow from Wetheral Road, Bank Road to Orlu Road, where the FMC is situated.
The protest, guided by policemen led by the state Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, started from the No 48 Wetheral Road, the secretariat of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives.
Addressing the protesters, the National Chairman of JOHESU, Biobelemoye Josiah, said they were in Owerri to address injustice and corruption.
He said that the reinstatement of Uwakwem as the MD was against the public civil service rule.
Josiah, who is also the national president of Health Workers Union, alleged that there were 18-count charges against Uwakwem before Economic and Financial Crime Commission.
Josiah queried, “Why should the matter not be tried and concluded before her recent reinstatement? This amounts to injustice and corruption of the highest order. This shows that there are some “shadow parties” in the Ministry of Health, which Mr. President does not know of.”
The National Secretary of Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Femi Obisesan, described the reinstatement of Uwakwem as an anathema to the anti-corruption mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “The 18 charges against Uwakwem should speak volume. By law, she is supposed to step aside pending when the court sets her free to allow justice have its way. We came to Owerri so as to show that the course of justice should not be perverted. Her coming back to office is dangerous in the sense that evidences to the charges slammed on her can be thwarted.”
Meanwhile, workers under JOHESU in the FMC Owerri, have been directed to stay at home until they receive directive from the national office to resume.