JOHESU faults resident doctors’ petition to anti-graft agencies, says no fraud in UNTH

By Tony Edike on 07/12/2018

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The protesting trainee doctors
The protesting trainee doctors

The Joint Health Sectors Union, JOHESU, of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, has strongly condemned what it described as “frivolous petitions” purportedly sent by a faction of the Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, to the anti-graft and law enforcement agencies alleging fraud against the hospital management.

A faction of the ARD UNTH chapter led by Dr. Isaiah Nwidenyi, had in the petitions reportedly presented to the agencies in Enugu during their protest on Thursday, claimed that the trainee doctors were allegedly shortchanged by the management of the hospital.  

They alleged that the doctors were denied of their duty allowances, adding that the N100 million said to have been released to the hospital by the federal government to settle arrears of their allowances, were allegedly diverted.

The petitions were reportedly sent to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission, ICPC, the Department of State Services, (DSS) and the Nigeria Police with a call on them to probe some officials of the hospital.

But speaking with Journalists in Enugu Friday, Chairman of JOHESU, UNTH chapter, Barrister Gilbert Nwadike, said there was no case of fraud reported against the hospital management, describing the petition purportedly written by a splinter group of ARD as an attempt to blackmail and intimidate the hospital management to pay the allowance that was not approved or appropriated for them.

According to him, the visit by the trainee doctors to EFCC and other agencies is quite conscionable because “in public service there is a procedure for resolving internal dispute, which must be exhausted by any aggrieved party before taking the matter out.”

He said: “The alleged issue of non-payment of arrears of allowances and not statutory salary, should not be a matter that should be taken to the public because it is part of condition of service in UNTH. If you have any issue we have a sitting board and supervising ministries, which you can complain to for them to look into the matter.

“For them to abandon their patients to demonstrate because of arrears of allowances is against the Hippocratic  Oath of Doctors, which makes saving of lives more important than arrears of allowances not even salaries.

“The position of JOHESU is that whatever money that comes to the hospital must be evidenced by a warrant stating the purpose for which that money was meant for. In the absence of such document, no section of the hospital can claim exclusive ownership of the money particularly when such money is moved from our personnel cost which covers the salary of cleaners, health attendants, Doctors and every other staff.

“JOHESU sees it as unconscionable for a splinter group of ARD to resort to blackmail and intimidation to force the management to apply the fund meant for every staff for the payment of their alleged allowances.”

On the fraud alert raised by the aggrieved doctors, Nwadike said there was nothing like fraud in UNTH as “it is just an attempt to arm-twist the management to pay them what they are not entitled to.”

“The same tactics worked for them in 2015 when they were paid skipping allowance even when a circular from the Federal Ministry of Finance made it abundantly clear that there was no budgetary provision for payment of skipping for doctors.

“But when government paid doctors relativity allowance it was clearly accompanied by a warrant and a circular to that effect.  So, why all of a sudden there is no warrant or any document to back the current demand?” the JOHESU leader queried.

He, however, advised the resident doctors to concentrate on their training in order to allow industrial harmony prevail in the hospital, insisting that “JOHESU will not allow money from our personnel cost to be depleted just to pay the doctors whatever allowance they are claiming.”

Should the protesting doctors refuse to retrace their steps and return to their duty posts, Nwadike said the hospital management should not hesitate to apply the standard disciplinary measure against them for abandoning their duties.

 

Posted 07/12/2018 5:09:49 PM

 

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