Visitors, patients and workers of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan got an early morning shocker on Monday as they were made to suffer serious difficulty while trying to gain entrance into the hospital premises.
This is because security men and cleaners at the hospital embarked on an unscheduled strike which led to a lock-down of the two gates leading to the facility.
According to findings, the workers were said to be protesting non-payment of their 11 months salaries arrears by the hospital management.
Motorist along the Mokola- Gate route and Queen Elizabeth road linking the State Secretariat to Total Garden Junction were held to a serious traffic gridlock.
The routes which lead to the two gates of the hospital were locked down for houses as a result of the incident as motorists were unable to move freely due to the build-up of staff vehicles at the gates.
According to sources, as early as 7:00 am, both roads became impassable with hundreds of other road users, including workers heading to the state secretariat nearby, trapped in the congestion.
Many patients who had an early appointment at the hospital lamented the situation as they could not gain entrance to the hospital. After a while, patients who could walk in were allowed to walk into the facility but no vehicle was allowed in.
One of the workers, who pleaded anonymity, accused the Chief Medical of the hospital, Prof Temitope Alonge of deliberately withholding the fund meant for their salaries, calling on the Federal Government to come to their aids.
She said: “We have endured for 11 months without salaries. Can the CMD endure a month without salary? But we are considered lowly in the ranks of staff of the hospital so our money can wait. We are vulnerable too because we hardly have any voice in the day-to-day running of the hospital.
“However, we are responsible for their security and hygiene. We open and lock the gate and clean the toilets and the wards. When they sleep at home, we look over the security of the hospital at night, daring the danger. But that is what we agreed to do when we applied so there is no problem with that.
“Our line of work is difficult but highly important to UCH. We deserve better than what we get. We call on the Federal Government to prevail on the hospital management to have pity on us.”
However, another source who refused to give his name informed journalist that the hospital CMD had addressed the protesting workers that their salaries were not paid directly by the hospital but through an agency which the FG contracted the two departments to.
The source added that, Alonge also promised to pay one month salary to the workers from the hospital’s Internally Generated Revenue and that efforts would be made to ensure that the agency involved facilitating speedy payments of the money.
When The Nation contacted the Spokesperson of UCH, Mr. Ayodeji Bobade for his reaction, he disclosed that he was on casual leave from work and does not have information on what actually transpired.
He added that he was at the University of Ibadan as at the time of the call, on the occasion of the daughter’s graduation.
Bobade said: “I cannot say anything about what actually happened. I am on casual and I have not been to work.
In fact, as we speak, I am right at the University of Ibadan for my daughter’s graduation. So, please I cannot speak on the issue yet.”