From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

Labour Unions at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu (FNHE) chapter, have asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to step in regarding the suspension of their Medical Director, Professor Monday Nwite Igwe. 

The Unions include the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), National Association of Nigeria Nurses  and  Midwives (NANNM), Association of Resident  Doctors (ARD), and Medical and  Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN).

It made the appeal in a letter dated March 5, addressed to the President, and which was signed by the Chairman JOHESU FNHE, Obinna Eze, NANNM FNHE Chairman, Eric Ugwu, President ARD FNHE, Dr. Ezea Christian and Chairman MDCAN FNHE, Dr. Nnabuchi Jane.

According to the Labour groups, Professor Igwe was suspended on September 20th last year over allegations from a civil society organization without proper investigations.

They lamented that despite full cooperation, they have not received feedback from the Ministry of Health’s investigation team.

The unions urge President Tinubu to ensure transparent reinstatement by demanding a detailed report based on truth and public service rules, clarifying reasons for Igwe’s extended suspension.

They argued that Professor Igwe, known for his dedication and compassion, should receive fair treatment and respect, not unfounded accusations and unfair penalties.

The letter reads in parts: “In the wake of Professor Igwe’s suspension on September 20th of last year which was based on trump up allegation from an acclaimed civil society organisation , we wholeheartedly cooperated with the ministerial investigation team during their visit that lasted from October 16th to 22nd 2023, following an indefinite suspension letter. The Union was summoned by the ministerial investigation team , where we provided comprehensive submissions and pertinent information based on facts on the issues raised in the indefinite suspension letter about the medical director.

“However, despite our unwavering cooperation, we find ourselves in a distressing situation where there has been a deafening silence from the ministerial investigation team and the Ministry of Health regarding the outcome of their inquiry.

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“Moreover, the “indefinite suspension” was changed to ” further suspension ” on January 26th, with an added three months extension till 23rd of March, 2024, without recourse to the public service rule that bothers on suspension in line with transparent justification and establishment of a prima facie case.
We considered the administrative infraction cynical. It has only exacerbated our concerns that justice most likely will be denied in this case.

“Our earnest requests in writing and formal inquiries for clarity and due process have been met with disheartening silence and ambiguity. This lack of communication and disregard for procedural fairness, given the circular with reference number SGF/OP/I.S.3/T/163 of 19th May, 2020, signed by BOSS MUSTAPHA former SGF as a guide to discipline a CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER have left many of us feeling disillusioned and disheartened, despite Professor Monday N. Igwe’s high performing achievements in the hospital.

“Professor Igwe, a beacon of dedication and compassion in our institution, deserves equitable treatment and respect, not baseless accusations and unjust punishment.
This will definitely kill the civil service, especially when wrong interpretation and disregard for Public Service Rule is the order of the day. This is unacceptable in the current quest for civil service reforms by this administration.
We firmly believe in upholding principles of fairness, justice, and transparency in all matters, especially concerning our esteemed Medical Director. We keep on supporting the drive by your administration in making Nigeria a citadel of hope.

“It is alleged that on the 23rd of March, Prof Monday IGWE will be given a sack letter with ignominy as compensation for a job well done in a hospital he developed from grass to grace.

“We passionately appeal to you to leverage your esteemed office to urge the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to provide a comprehensive report predicated on truth and adherence to Public Service Rule and extant circular on the investigation and transparently elucidate the rationale behind the prolonged suspension of our Medical Director. Additionally, we implore the Federal Ministry of  Health and Social Welfare to reconsider its decision and afford Professor Igwe the dignified treatment he deserves as one of the highest performing hospital administrators when compared to his predecessors from the same hospital.

“We are bold to say that he is peerless in terms of performance as it concerns hospital management in this country. The indicators speak volumes.

“The continued absence of Professor Igwe not only destabilizes our institution but also inflicts undue hardship on his family, as his salary has been halted for several months. This situation is deplorable in the current economic hardship and requires your urgent intervention. Why will a good man suffer because he is not political and dubious?

“Your Excellency, we appeal to your elderly sense of judgment, believing that justice and your profound compassionate wisdom will swiftly address this matter and restore stability and integrity to our hospital community. Your decisive action will not only uphold the dignity of Professor Igwe but also reaffirm our faith in the principles of fairness and justice, which your administration has continuously done in the present dispensation.”