More than 250 resident doctors, nurses, medical officers and interns of the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State, have not been paid their salaries since January 2021, FIJ can report.
The non-payment of their salaries is due to the refusal of UCH to migrate the aforementioned staff to the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPIS) as ordered by the Federal Government.
Established in 2007, the IPPIS system is responsible for paying salaries and wages directly to the bank accounts of Federal Government employees such as UCH staff.
In February 2020, the IPPIS department of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) told UCH to migrate staff of the hospital to the new payment platform.
UCH sources told FIJ that many of the hospital staff, including nurses, consultants, non-doctors and even cleaners, enrolled to the new IPPIS platform but the Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof Abiodun Otegbayo “still secluded some doctors”.
Meanwhile, details of the secluded doctors could not be captured by the IPPIS officials due to the Covid-19 pandemic that crippled the activities of the Nigeria health care system.
“For the remainder of 2020, IPPIS never came back, maybe because of COVID. And more doctors were employed; in fact, quite a lot were taken, increasing our number to about 256,” one of the affected doctors told FIJ.
“In November 2020, the Federal Government released a circular. They wanted the migration of all staff to IPPIS all of a sudden because they noticed a lot of corruption in the former platform.”
THE ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION
FIJ gathered from sources in the hospital that the UCH management is reluctant to enroll the 256 doctors and other medical staff to the IPPIS because it will stop its corruption network.
“When the IPPIS came, UCH was the last hospital that finally accepted it. This is because a lot of corruption is happening here. Many of the admin staff are living way above their salaries, another source told FIJ.
“The thing that the doctors earning more than them will not be able to afford, they can afford them comfortably. We even learnt that there are some admin staffwho have two to three filling stations.
“Some of them own cars that their salaries in the next 10 years cannot buy. Some of them build houses and live in mansions.”
FIJ gathered that some of the admin staff had collected bribes and promised people some job slots. Our findings reveal that those who had been promised slots haven’t gotten their appointment letter.
“So when the IPPIS comes and captures those that are genuine staff, what will happen is that they will not be able to fulfill their part of the bargain to bring them in.
“Right now, they are trying to press the Federal Government so that those people will be given appointment. And the Federal Government is making its stand that the nation is in crisis. They cannot bring in new people right now.
“We are in the middle of the Federal Government not wanting new staff, and the criminals who have collected bribes, or want to bring in their brother and sisters into the system.”
TEARS, HUNGER AND PAIN
On Thursday, doctors, nurses and other medical officers who have not been paid their four months salaries marched to the CMD’s office to express their displeasure. After the seemingly peaceful meeting, many of the aggrieved workers said the CMD’s words were depressing. They stressed that there was no hope of getting their salaries soon.
Some of the doctors who spoke to FIJ on the condition of anonymity said their homes were in agony because they have not been paid.
A doctor who confided in FIJ said that feeding his family has been a challenge despite working day and night at UCH.
“I am currently demoralised; it is hard feeding my family as I talk to you,” the doctor said. “Imagine you as a doctor attending to people and you have not been paid. I work so hard. I know a colleague that has been in the hospital for the whole week. You just keep working but no salary.”
One doctor said he knows many others who are now in tears and pains because of “this non-payment of salaries.” He said some doctors’ children have been out of school because their parents could not pay their school fees.
“Now we say we are tired. We say give us our pay; anything you guys want to settle, settle it; but don’t let us suffer for whatever you want to settle.”
When contacted, Toye Akinrinlola, the Head of Information Department of UCH, said the problem wasn’t peculiar to the hospital as all the teaching hospitals in the country were affected.
“The issue is not UCH’s negligence; it is at the national level,” he said. “All the teaching and tertiary hospitals are affected. However, the matter is being addressed at the national level.”
Although Akinrinola claimed that the number of doctors quoted above as affected wasn’t correct, he refused to give the actual figure.
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