Some medical workers at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Osun State have tackled the management for allegedly subjecting them to penury over 10 months of unpaid salary.
The employees, during different interviews on Wednesday, stressed that they have resorted to begging to feed their families due to the hardship the non-payment of salaries has subjected them to.
One of the employees identified simply as Ben said he has become incapable of feeding his family because of the non-payment of his salary since he joined the service of OAUTH on December 13, 2022.
“I was given an appointment letter on December 13, 2022, after completion of my medicals. I was posted to the place of my primary assignment. Since then, we have been in this sorry-case situation, no salary was paid to me. I have rented an apartment, and do a lot of things with my savings with the hope of recovering it when they start paying me, but nothing came out of it,” he said.
Another employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, said, “Some of the reasons why our medical practitioners such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses, medical laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiographers etc. are leaving the country is because the ones that are working in Nigeria are suffering.
“Imagine a medical staff working in a Federal Government Teaching Hospital for over 10 months without being paid one kobo because we have not been captured by IPPIS due to one or two reasons best known to the ministry and the Hospital Management.
“Many lives are already miserable, staff are living in debt, families are breaking, staff are not able to pay children’s school fees, some are depressed and how do you want that same staff to attend to a patient?”
He added that all efforts to ensure that their pleas were attended to proved abortive while appealing to relevant authorities to come to their aid.
“In the past, various health unions such as JOHESU have embarked on strike actions in solidarity with the newly employed staff to persuade the management to pay salaries but these steps have yielded no positive result because they are always forced or threatened back to work by the Ministry Of Health.
“In September 2023, some officials of the Ministry Of Health came to the hospital to carry out a verification exercise for the new staff. It’s 2 months ago and till this moment we have not heard from them. The staff are still working, suffering and smiling.
“To well-meaning Nigerians and the constituted authorities, please save the soul of the newly employed staff of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital,” he concluded.
When contacted, the Chief Medical Director of OAUTH, John Okeniyi, directed our correspondent to a tweet by the Minister for Health, Muhammed Pate, while stating that he could not make an official comment on the matter.
“I am not able to grant you any interviews formally or otherwise at this time because the Minister of Health has waded into this matter and I can only direct you to see his response to the issue on his Twitter (X) handle. I am awaiting directives from the FMoHSW,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pate in a tweet on his verified X handle on October 13, noted that the investigation has been completed and the issue would be resolved soonest.
“We are addressing the OAUTH situation. The investigation has just been completed on this unfortunate situation. We understand the difficulties being faced by numerous innocent health workers and will do our best to resolve it equitably,” he tweeted.