Following the protest last week by casual workers at the Benin Central Hospital, Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday, ordered the suspension of the Managing Director of the hospital, Dr. Kayode Iyasere and compulsory retirement of the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry Of Health, Dr. Ofure Eboreme.
Casual workers in the hospital protested last week over unpaid six months salary after they accused the state government of alleged failure to pay their wages.
But it was gathered that the governor who gave orders six months ago that all casual workers should be regularized, was embarrassed by the protest and decided to deal with the officers for alleged failure to carry out government’s directive.
The crisis was said to have started after government’s directive that all revenues accrued in the hospital should be paid into the state government’s account.
It was revealed that, this directive made it impossible for the hospital to pay the casual workers since they no longer controlled the revenues.
A source at the hospital said: “These casual workers have been very helpful because government has not employed workers for a long time now, and as a result, there is paucity of staff. These casuals help as security, generator operatives, and ward orderlies. They sometimes help nurses and doctors in the wards. In fact, the Permanent Secretary, who is a surgeon, has been managing the situation to ensure that the place moves forward.
“Unfortunately for them, they could no longer pay the casual workers because of the new government policy that all revenues be paid into the government account. So they owed the workers and that led to the protest. It is unfortunate that the Permanent Secretary was affected in this shake up but the man is the one that has been trying to make this hospital work.”
However, Commissioner for Labour and Establishment, Comrade Didi Adodo, said the protest was embarrassing to government since “the governor, six months ago, ordered that all casual workers should be regularized. The management of the hospital, including the Permanent Secretary, are supposed to implement government policies but they failed to do that. The worst of it all, is the issue of monthly payment of N10,000 to the casual workers when the minimum wage is N18,000.”
Adodo added that the governor had already directed that all casual workers in the state should be regularized, while the retired ones should be paid off and “the money to pay them had been released by the state government. That is why government felt embarrassed by the protest.”