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Federal Ministry of Health Panel Exposes Job Racketeering Scandal at OAUTH

In a recent revelation, an investigative panel initiated by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has uncovered the reasons behind the prolonged non-payment of salaries to health workers at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) in Ile-Ife, Osun State. The panel, led by Dr. Aderemi Azeez, exposed the former Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Olumuyiwa Owojuyigbe, for his alleged involvement in massive job racketeering.

The panel’s findings disclosed that Dr. Owojuyigbe had engaged in over-employment and job racketeering within the hospital, surpassing the personnel budget’s provisions. It was revealed that he hired more than 1,973 staff, significantly exceeding the 450 vacancies approved by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in the 2022 employment.

Health workers at OAUTH, facing over 10 months of unpaid salaries, had previously raised concerns about their dire financial situations, resorting to begging to feed their families. Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate, confirmed the completion of the investigation, acknowledging the challenges faced by health workers and pledging to address the situation equitably.

A statement from the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, signed by Patricia Deworitshe, Director of Press, shed light on the unrest at OAUTH, attributing it to the alleged job racketeering and over-employment under Dr. Owojuyigbe’s leadership. The ministry described this as a “flagrant abuse of extant rules and regulations.”

The statement outlined the recruitment process at OAUTH, revealing that the hospital exceeded the approved waiver by recruiting 2,423 staff instead of the permitted 450. The excess recruitment included both clinical and non-clinical staff, with discrepancies in academic and professional qualifications.

The investigative panel’s report further highlighted that Dr. Owojuyigbe, appointed in acting capacity in March 2023, had absconded from duty since July 2023. His accomplice, Mr. Balogun Tajudeen, the acting Director of Administration, has been suspended due to their involvement in the job racketeering scandal.

As the investigation unfolds, the fate of the unpaid health workers remains uncertain. The Office of the Head of the Civil Service is reportedly conducting further investigations, as it holds the authority to grant waivers to public institutions. The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s intervention seeks to address the root causes of the crisis and ensure a fair resolution for the affected health workers at OAUTH.

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