A report by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s investigative panel exposed a dire situation at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
According to the PUNCH, the former Chief Medical Director, Dr. Olumuyiwa Owojuyigbe, was implicated in over-employment and job racketeering, causing the non-payment of salaries to health workers.
Dr. Aderemi Azeez, leading the investigation, discovered a significant over-employment situation orchestrated by Owojuyigbe. The hospital, against waiver approval for 450 vacancies in 2022 employment, hired a staggering 1,973 individuals. This substantial surplus resulted in financial strain, leaving several workers unpaid for months.
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, acknowledged the investigation’s conclusion.
“We are addressing the OAUTH situation. The investigation has just been completed into this unfortunate situation. We understand the difficulties being faced by numerous innocent health workers and will do our best to resolve them equitably,” the minister wrote on his verified X (Twitter) handle.
In a statement titled ‘OAUTH Ife and the Unrest,’ and signed by Patricia Deworitshe, the Director of Press at the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the ministry addressed the unrest at OAUTH, pinning it on the job racketeering and over-employment orchestrated during Owojuyigbe’s tenure.
The statement partly read, “The hospital conducted the exercise in two phases (230 and 220) after securing the approval of the Federal Character Commission not to advertise the posts.
“During the first phase, the hospital recruited 600 instead of 230, and a total of 1,823 staff members were recruited in the second phase instead of 220.
“At the end of the two phases, the hospital recruited 2,423 staff instead of 450. As such, 1,973 staff members were recruited in excess of the approved waiver.”
The hospital’s recruitment process vastly exceeded approved limits, employing 2,423 instead of the authorised 450 staff, with an alarming 1:1 clinical to non-clinical staff ratio contrary to the recommended 3:1.
Moreover, numerous recruits lacked essential academic qualifications and evidence of National Youth Service Corps certificates.
Dr. Owojuyigbe, acting CMD since March 2023, has been absent since July, while Balogun Tajudeen, acting Director of Administration, is suspended for their involvement in the saga.
Responding to inquiries about the workers’ fate, the ministry stated that the Office of the Head of the Civil Service is conducting an investigation, indicating that they are the authority responsible for granting waivers to public institutions.