JOHESU Shuts down FMC Owerri, Health Minister Blamed for Crisis

Amby Uneze in Owerri
The crisis rocking the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri, Imo State, over the reinstatement of the embattled Medical Director of the Centre, Dr. Angela Uwakwem, yesterday deepened as the Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU) shut 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 Uwakwem as a ploy to cover up her “fraudulent acts,” directing the doctors and other health workers to embark on indefinite strike until the decision to reinstate the medical director of the Centre is reversed.

 Addressing the protesting workers and union leaders at the barricaded gate of the Centre, Bobelemoye, said the 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.”

He said: “We are not here to make 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 against those who 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 FMC for their maturity for toeing the path of peace because we are not going to be violent, but we cannot be cowed or kept quite in the face of corruption. The rule of law cannot be used against some people and suspended for other 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 they 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 at the Centre. So we were shocked that she was brought back to cover up the fraud. But we will not allow that to happen; she must go.”

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