The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has offered to refund money paid for medical tests by workers who were laid off last Wednesday.
Some newly recruited staffers of the teaching hospital had on Thursday staged a protest following its decision to lay them off after it said they were illegally recruited by the former management of the hospital.
The protesters, who carried placards describing their sacking as injustice and demanded the payment of their salaries, demanded compensation, having worked for about 14 months before they were disengaged.
The management of the hospital, in a memo signed by the Acting Director of Administration, O. Omonije, and dated January 31, 2024, retained 68 and sacked about 2,000 others recruited through alleged job racketeering that took place in the hospital from early 2022 to year 2023.
The memo also added that the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, approved recruitment of only 450 workers before the racketeering took place.
It listed 68 employees as those who would participate in the fresh recruitment in compliance with the approval given by the Head of Service, saying all those recruited outside the approval, must stop parading themselves as workers of the hospital.
Speaking virtually on the controversies surrounding the decision to lay off the workers on Friday, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr John Okeniyi, insisted that those asked to stop parading themselves as staffers were illegally recruited by the past management.
Okeniyi said the decision to refund money paid for medicals by the affected staffers was to demonstrate fairness to the victims of the racketeering.
He said, “It is sad that the illegality of the 2022 recruitments and job racketeering perpetrated by a few staff (members) has severally tainted the public image of our highly industrious and patriotic staff (members), our vibrant hospital, the federal ministry, and the Federal Government.
“It is however noteworthy that the illegality has been repeatedly brought to the sufficient notice of the public and the victims (many of whom wilfully engaged in the criminality just to secure themselves jobs).
“Even after the suspension of officers involved and the sufficient notice granted by the Federal Ministry of Health, many have persistently insisted that they are legitimate staff (members), and this narrative is categorically false.”
The CMD, who condemned what he described as threats meted out to officials of the teaching hospital, added, “Indeed, they have circulated leaflets threatening death to officers, Staff (members), and patients.
“The management is not insensible to the protest and unrest occasioned by the mandate to implement the 2022 approved waiver in line with the recommendations and approval of
the FMoH&SW. Nevertheless, we cannot offer non-existent job positions and we all must face reality.
“To demonstrate fairness to all victims, and the public, this administration is willing to offer victims who may have inadvertently paid any amounts to procure screening tests after they were given letters of employment, the OAUTHC management shall refund all such verifiable receipted claims of ‘pre-employment’ medical screening expenses.”