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Secret Reporters

While frantic efforts are being made by Federal and State governments to cushion the effects of the lockdown necessitated by moves to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, it appears that the Chief Medical Director of Federal Teaching Hospital Abakiliki (FETHA) Dr Emeka Onwe-Ogah has craftily put in place mechanisms to cause untold hardship and sufferings to medical doctors under his purview using the Covid-19 pandemic as cover.

Information made available to SecretReporters reveals that the CMD has refused to fast track salary payments of resident doctors who were employed into the Federal Medical Facility since December 2019 because they are yet to be captured into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

A source revealed that the salaries of resident doctors amongst other medical personnel who were employed few months before the Nationwide spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the eventual lockdown have been withheld by the CMD since the date of their employment with efforts to get the management of IPPIS to capture the doctors who are at the front line in the fight against the dreaded Covid-19 virus yielding no positive result as they declined to visit the facility for fears of contracting the virus.

Not considering withholding the salaries of the doctors as an act of illegality, Dr Emeka who was advised to explore other platforms like the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) being used by other Federal Medical Centres in facilitating payments pending capture by the IPPIS, vehemently refused to explore the option calling it illegal.

Findings also revealed that in a show of wanton disregard for the survival of the doctors in the wake of the hardship occasioned by the lockdown across the country, it was alleged that the CMD categorically stated that, the doctors will not receive their salaries until the pandemic was over and IPPIS can capture them.

“They told us that they will only pay us after COVID-19 when IPPIS will be able to capture us. And IPPIS said they can’t come owing to COVID-19. They do not want to pay us via other platforms. Even if COVID-19 last for 10 years, they won’t pay us. IPPIS can’t come now because of COVID-19 lockdown. Imagine that? They are keeping our livelihoods using COVID-19 as an excuse”, lamented a doctor who chose to speak on the condition of anonymity.

The resident doctor who have expressed concerns that the CMD does not care if they die of hunger amidst the lockdown in a cry for help call on the Federal Civil Service Commission and other concerned agencies to prevail on him to implement the use of GIFMIS currently being used by FMC Owerri and UBTH in facilitating their payments.

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