•‘They’re expressing their grief’
The death of three doctors of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti (FETHI) in an accident on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway on Sunday has sparked a protest and strike by their colleagues.
Trooping out en masse in a protest which forced the closure of the hospital yesterday, the workers claimed that the doctors’ death on the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Lawrence Ayodele.
They claimed that workers have been dying mysteriously during Ayodele’s tenure, accusing the CMD of carrying out rituals in the dead of the night in the hospital.
Various unions, including the Medical Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Senior Staff Association (SSA), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), locked the hospital’s main gate.
They accused the CMD of using juju to kill workers in a bid to secure a second term. The protest which started at about 6am went on for several hours.
Singing dirges, they barricaded the Ido-Otun Highway preventing human and vehicular traffic. According to the irate staff, 42 of them had died in the last 42 months
Some of their placards read: “42 Months 42 Dead”; “No To Occultism and Ritual Actions in FETHI”; “Give Us New CMD in FETHI” and “Buhari, Save Our Souls”, among others.
The Chairman of FETHI Branch of Senior Staff Association, Adetula Akinlolu, claimed that strange people come into the hospital at odd hours to carry out rituals.
The strange men, according to him, claimed to be acting under the instruction of the CMD. He alleged that two of such rituals were carried out in the last two weeks which is now raising workers’ eyebrows on the latest deaths.
Akinlolu said: “So many people have been complaining that some people do come here in the night and leave in the morning to carry out rituals but I never believed until I witnessed it about two weeks ago on April 7.
“I was on the night shift and I went to the SSA Common Room to get a bottle of soft drink and security operatives called me that they had arrived again. I was surprised because I was not expecting anybody.
“But when I got to the Administration Block, I saw that they had entered and locked the door from inside but I was able to hear people talking in the CMD’s office.
“I rushed back to the gate to get some security men to follow me but they have gone on patrol but I stayed back. Around 5am, I went inside the NHIS Building to ease myself but before I returned they had all left.
“I was able to take pictures of their number plates because they came into two Toyota Highlanders. After they left, I rushed to the security post again to ask why they allowed those people in. The security men replied that they were acting on Ayodele’s instruction.
“We have since discovered that whenever these strange people come here, one or two calamities happen here and this has been a recurring exercise.
“Last week, I was told that those set of strange people came again but I was not on night duty so I could not ascertain the authenticity of the story but to my greatest surprise, I was called yesterday that some doctors were on their way to Sokoto and they had an accident and seven of them died, including three doctors, who were our members.”
The SSA’s spokesman, Temitope Ogunleye, called on the Federal Government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the “mysterious” deaths.
Ogunleye said: “The Federal Government should look into these happenings, these deaths are too much. Many of our members died last year, now we have three workers dead again.”
But Ayodele, who spoke with reporters on phone, said he was in Sokoto for the Annual General Meeting and National Executive Committee meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
He said all CMDs of health institutions owned by the Federal Government are in Sokoto under the directive of the Federal Ministry of Health.
When informed on the protest in his hospital, Ayodele said: “Grief is a normal thing this is a colossal loss and there is no way there won’t be a reaction to this but we must not allow our personal emotion to get the better of us.”
A worker, who pleaded for anonymity, said: “The workers are angry because they are convinced that the CMD is carrying out some diabolical things killing their colleagues.
“To me, they are justified because during the last administration where the former CMD spent eighth years and three months, we hardly recorded four deaths.
“This present one has hardly spent four years and we have lost about 51 workers.”
FETHI spokesman Adeboyejo Adekunle, said: “All these allegations are baseless. You cannot attribute somebody’s death to the CMD. He is not a killer. People die in workplaces all over the world.
“Anybody can say anything but I want to assure you that he is not the one who has been killing people. The protests and allegations are the works of disgruntled elements in the hospital, who feel that if anything happens in the hospital, the CMD must be the culprit.
“You know that some doctors from the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti also died in the accident but nobody accused the CMD of murder. It is only in Ido that some workers are protesting, barricading the road and singing war songs.
“In Ido, the situation has always been chaotic whenever a CMD is completing his tenure, there would be crisis. It happened to Ayodele’s predecessor. Some people are against his second term of the CMD. They are disgruntled elements and they are the ones behind all this.”