Crisis rocks FMC Owerri again …As Ministry of Health re-instates Dr Uwakwem
Pandemonium broke out at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri on Wednesday October 19, as overzealous security operatives fired canisters of teargas to disperse agitating members of Joint Health Sector Union who were protesting the recall of Dr. Mrs. Angela Uwakwem as the substantive Chief Medical Director of the health facility.
Dr. Mrs. Uwakwem aided by the scores of security personnel who include members of anti-riot police, squad stormed the health facility and broke into her former office.
The embattled Medical Director who had been on compulsory leave for over one year had apparently been given a clean slate and cleared of allegation leveled against her by members of Joint Health Sector Union under the leadership of Comrade Ezeugulu Clifford and Iheanyi Okoronta, Chairman and Secretary respectively.
The medical centre was turned into a war zone of sorts as members of the various unions in the centre which include members of National Association of Nurses, and Midwives, Medical and Health Workers and National Union of Allied Health Professionals scampered to safety to avoid inhaling the teargas as it was fired sporadically and indiscriminately. Patients were also badly affected as those in emergency paediatric unit and those in ward 10 were the worst hit as their various degrees of incapacitation hinders them from running away from danger.
The Leader investigation revealed that two workers, Comrades Precious Nwaneri and Ogueri Micheal were manhandled by the security operatives before being hand-cuffed and taken away to the police station for further interrogation.
Activities in the centre were grounded to a halt as a result of the altercation and brouhaha between the workers and security.
A patient on wheelchair who identified himself as Mr. Cyril Ezikugo, native of Ihitenansa, Orsu Local Government Area of Imo decried the use of teargas on patients in the Health Centre. He implored the authorities to quickly resolve the crisis as patients and patrons of the Federal Health facility are the ultimate victims of destruction of services.
Efforts to meet with the Medical Director failed as she were said to be in a meeting with her management as at the time of tiling this report.
Meanwhile callers on Owerri based radio station on Thursday condemned the continued face-off and appealed to the workers to sheathe sword.
The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu said police presence at the hospital was “to control the situation”.
He advised the workers to approach the court if they were aggrieved, adding that they do not have any right to stop their fellow worker from doing her job.