Gruesome Murder of Acting Chief Registrar Unsettles Health Ministry

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• Medical lab scientists task FG, Police to unmask killers
Paul Obi in Abuja

The brutal murder of the acting Chief Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), Mrs. Olufunke Omotuyi in the early hours of last Wednesday appears to be unsettling officials of the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja.

This might not be unconnected with the on-going squabbles and supremacy battle going on at the MLSCN, which even led to the termination of the former Chief Registrar’s appointment by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole. Adewole was believed to have instructed Omotuyi to take over the leadership of the council in an acting capacity even before end of the tenure of the former Chief Registrar. Further, an injunction was also said to have been issued by the National Industrial Court (NIC) mandating the minister to ensure that the status quo is maintained.

Omotuyi’s killing was said to have occurred at about 4.00am Wednesday, June 8, few hours to the commencement of the World Accreditation Day, an event she was billed to chair in Abuja.
But addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) said the federal government, particularly the Nigerian Police, must do all they can to ensure that the killers are fished out.

AMLSN President, Toyosi Raheem told journalists that “Mrs. Omotuyi was a very humble, innocent and peaceful mother and an astute medical laboratory scientist. Omotuyi could hardly harm a fly! It is unfortunate that the life of this humble and peaceful woman had been cut off through this means.

“We appeal to the Nigerian Police Force and other law enforcement agents to demonstrate that the killing would not be handled with kid gloves like other previous killings. We expect tangible outcome of the investigations that will unravel those responsible for this gruesome killing. This killing must not be swept under the carpet,” Raheem stressed.

The AMLSN President “urged the Inspector General of Police to ensure that strategies that will lead to unraveling the killers of Mrs. Omotuyi are deployed. This type of killing continues to attract negative publicity to Nigeria: it can also scare away investors and professionals in the Diaspora from coming back home to contribute their quota to the development of Nigeria. Those involved must therefore be thoroughly investigated, arrested and brought to book to serve as deterrent”.

On insinuations about what might have led to the murder of Omotuyi, Raheem informed journalists that “as professionals, there shouldn’t be anything that lead to loss of life. We never imagine that that could lead to the loss of life. The Police know the various strategies to use. We are trained to save lives, but not to kill; we don’t know whether professionals are involved.”

The AMLSN President also ruled out the possibility of victims whose laboratories have been sealed to have targeted Omotuyi, arguing that, “no lab has been sealed since Omotuyi took over; even if a lab has been sealed, should that result to killing? We don’t want to limit the work of the Police. Those who have issues with sealing of labs are only allowed to insist on professional authority, that is to challenge such in court, not to kill the person,” Raheem said.

All efforts to speak to the Minister, Prof. Adewole were not fruitful as he was not available for comments. But Director of Press in the ministry, Mrs. Boade Akinola told THISDAY that “investigation is going on, we have to wait for the Police, so we should not pre-empt them,” she stated.