By Achike Uchenna, Owerri
Workers of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri, Imo State have shut down the health facility over the reinstatement of the embattled Medical Director of the Centre, Dr. Angela Uwakwem.
Coming under the umbrella of the Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU), the workers on Tuesday locked down the hospital and demanded her immediate removal.
The National President of the body, Bobelemoye Josiah, who led the protest, described the coming back of Dr Uwakwem, as a ploy to cover up her “fraudulent acts”.
He thereafter directed the doctors and other health workers to embark on indefinite strike until the decision to reinstate the Medical Director of the Centre is reversed.
While addressing the protesting workers and Union leaders, Bobelemoye, said the embattled Medical Director was indicted by the report of the Interim Management Committee and is currently being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), adding that, “under the Civil Service Act, anyone undergoing any criminal investigation should step aside”.
According to him, “We are not here to make Angela Uwakwem a phenomenon but to cry out to the people that we are not in support of corruption and the formula the Federal Ministry of Health is using and we are coming out to protest the language that those that don’t want her should resign. We are not here to make her our enemy but the right thing must be done because nobody is above the law. We are not going to support corruption.
“We also want to commend the Staff of the Centre for their maturity for toeing the part of peace because we are not going to be violent but we cannot be cowed or keep quite in the face of corruption. The rule of law cannot be used against some people and suspended for some people”.
Meanwhile the protesting Union leaders who displayed placards with various inscriptions such as, ‘we will stand against corruption’, ‘Uwakwem should resign and face corruption charges against her’, ‘FMC Owerri is not Uwakwem’s Estate’, ‘Mr. President save FMC Owerri from Uwakwem and her cohorts’ and is ‘Adewole a Minister of Health or Hell’, among others, accused the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole of subverting the recommendations of the Interim Management Committee, which he said indicted the Medical Director.
He noted that, “the Committee in their report indicted the Medical Director and referred her to the EFCC for further investigations after commending that she should step aside and should not even be allowed to be a consultant in the Centre. So we were shocked that was brought back to cover up the fraud. But we will not allow that, she must go”.