BY TIMOTHY AGBOR
There was pandemonium at the premises of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC) on Monday when armed policemen invaded the area and chased away protesters.
Thousands of the hospital workers had gathered at the hospital in protest against their disengagement by the hospital management over alleged job racketeering and illegal recruitment by some senior staff of the health institution.
No fewer than 1,500 workers were laid off even as the management of the hospital admitted culpability in the alleged fraudulent employment.
According to the management, investigation revealed that some now suspended top management staff had to sleep with some female workers before issuing them employment letters while others bought the jobs.
Angered by their sack, the workers mobilised and shut the hospital main gates in protest last week Thursday, denying the allegations of job racketeering levelled against them.
The protesters had threatened to frustrate activities in the hospital indefinitely if the management fails to reverse its decision.
Meanwhile, as the industrial action entered its 5th day on Monday, some armed policemen stormed the protest ground, shot into the air sporadically and chased away the protesters who were armed with placards.
The security personnel forced the shut gates open and stationed their patrol vehicles at the gates to prevent further protest.
News Boom Nigeria reports that some of the affected workers took to their heels upon hearing gunshots while others summoned courage to loiter as the police team took over the arena.
In an interview with one of the sacked workers, he told News Boom Nigeria that the policemen arrived the protest scene in the afternoon when the leaders of the sacked workers’ group had been summoned to the palace of the Ooni of Ife for a meeting over the incident.
“We had gathered on Monday morning for our usual peaceful protest. In the afternoon, we suddenly sighted some policemen with guns. They started shooting while others fired tear gas at us.
“Many of ran away. I saw them from distance opening the gates. That was how we ended the protest.
“Some of our leaders had received telephone call for a meeting at the Ooni palace and they had gone there. It was after few minute that they left us that the police struck,” the sacked worker who did not want his name mentioned said.
It was however gathered that full activities have returned to the hospital as both workers and patients can now enter and exit the hospital without hindrance.