Employees who were let go last Wednesday may receive a reimbursement for the money they paid for medical testing, according to the management of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

The teaching hospital announced its intention to fire some of its recently hired employees on Thursday, citing their alleged illegal recruitment by the previous administration of the facility as the reason behind the protest.

The demonstrators, who had been employed for roughly 14 months prior to being let go, held signs denouncing their dismissal as unfair and demanding payment of their salaries.

The hospital’s management fired roughly 2,000 people who were allegedly hired through job racketeering that occurred in the hospital between early 2022 and 2023, and retained 68 others, according to a memo dated January 31, 2024, and signed by O. Omonije, Acting Director of Administration.

Furthermore, the memo stated that prior to the racketeering, only 450 employees had been approved for recruitment by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

It said that all individuals who were hired without permission must cease representing themselves as hospital employees and listed 68 employees as those who would take part in the new hiring process in accordance with the Head of Service’s approval.

Chief Medical Director of the Hospital Dr. John Okeniyi insisted that those who were asked to cease presenting themselves as staff members were in fact illegally recruited by the previous management, during his virtual speech on Friday regarding the controversies surrounding the decision to lay off the workers.

According to Okeniyi, the decision to reimburse the impacted staff members’ medical expenses was made in an effort to be equitable to the racketeering victims.

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 ofthe 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.”

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