Protesting nurses at the Ondo State Specialists Hospital in Ikare Akoko, vowed that they would not resume working until their outstanding salaries, entitlements and bonuses were fully paid by the State government.
The aggrieved nurses made the announcement on Monday shortly after a meeting called by the Chairman of the Ondo State Health Management Board (OSHMB), Niran Okunrinboye, was nearly disrupted by some of the protestors.
One protestor told SaharaReporters that they would continue to strike and block the entrance to the facility until the State government pays their salaries and benefits.
Our correspondent gathered that some of the health workers had purportedly shunned the “negotiating meeting” called by Mr. Okunrinboye.
An anonymous source told SaharaReporters that the visiting government team condemned the actions of the Account Manager of the hospital for defrauding the health workers but asked the nurses to resume work in the interest of sick patients.
“The government team was led by the Chairman of Ondo State Health Management Board, Niran Okunrinboye, and a Secretary from the Board, Ikuomola Ayotunde. Both of them expressed bitterness over the fraud,” the source said.
“The Chairman specifically described the actions of the Account Manager, who has been arrested, as ‘too wicked’ during this period of economic downturn.”
Another protestor said, “They begged us to come back and start work at the hospital, but some of our leaders told them the stolen salaries must be refunded before anyone could be allowed to work freely inside the hospital.”
The source added that the State government should find another way of paying the nurses’ salaries rather than attempting to recover the stolen funds from the Account Manager, Aminu Kamilu.
A SaharaReporters correspondent reported that Mr. Kamilu was arrested after absconding with the nurses’ salaries.
The Account Manager, together with officers of Heritage Bank Plc, conspired to divert about N10m of health workers’ salaries into a personal account. Mr. Kamilu is currently in police custody in Akure.
A police source secretly told SaharaReporters that the arrested Account Manager was already cooperating with the police and giving clues about other financial crimes that have been committed at the hospital.
“The accountant is cooperating with officers and is also giving us clues to other forms of corruption that have been done in the past at the facility,” a police officer said.
Kolawole Ezekiel, the Branch Chairman of the nurses in the hospital, told our correspondent that he had briefed the police on the next action of the protesting health workers, reiterating that they will not resume work until their salaries are paid.