The Assistant Director of Nursing, Out Patient Department, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu, Buzo-Maduka Ruth, has cried out over the unlawful termination of her contract by the Medical Director, Dr. Monday Igwe.
The termination letter, which SecretReporters obtained, said Ruth was ousted based on “the report and the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee on a case of absenteeism from duty instituted against you.” The letter was signed by Dr. Igwenagu N. C, Deputy Director of Administration, on behalf of the Medical Director.
According to Ruth in a letter addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mahmuda Mamman, dated August 1st, 2023, which SecretReporters exclusively obtained, the termination came barely a month after she alerted the PM of the act of selective victimization, persecution, oppression, harassment and withholding of her monthly salaries by the medical director.
Ruth noted that the Medical Director terminated her appointment illegally and contrary to the former Minister of Health’s directive dated 31st August 2022 “that any disciplinary process involving me (Buzo-Maduka, Ruth) should involve the Ministry to determine, pursuant to the powers of the Minister in section 9 of the Psychiatric Hospital Management Board Act, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Pleading for the PM’s urgent interventions, Ruth said, “I am not aware of any report from Disciplinary Committee, and none was communicated to me either. The termination letter violates Civil Service Rule”.
Meanwhile, in a letter dated July 7th, Ruth had petitioned Mahmuda Mamman and the Ministry over “continuous selective persecution, oppression and man’s inhumanity to man continuously being meted to me by the Medical Director, Dr. Monday Igwe.”
She stated that on the assumption of duty in July 2021, Dr. Monday never allowed her to enter the office, “It took the intervention of the Federal Civil Service Commission and the ministry to return me to office as if he was not happy that we were vindicated.”
Ruth revealed that despite being retired in October 2022, “the Minister and its top management staff thought it wise to assist/help me by giving contract considering that I did not serve up to my due years of service due to the frame-up and detention, compensated me and gave a contract of two (2) years to serve my service years having spent almost three (3) years in detention. ‘’The then-minister also gave me a cash sum of a hundred thousand to help me manage the family from his personal purse. This did not go down well with the MD, Monday Igwe; he started grudging; why did I go to Abuja? Why did you go to the Minister? Do you think it is the minister that gave you the contract?
It is me, Dr. Monday Igwe, and if I, Monday Igwe, say no, no Jupiter can reverse it, not even the court, and after all, it is his money that is being used to pay me”.
She further noted that even though the contract was given in November, Dr. Monday Igwe told her to write another application seeking the contract to him again and to back-date it to 31 October 2022, “this I did.”
“He now gave me approval for the application stating that the contract will commence on 1st December 2022, which he claimed is subject to board ratification without stating the termination period according to civil service rule. When I asked the Administrative Officer that this is not how a contract is written in civil service, she said the MD told her to write it like that”.
The distressed Ruth said that when she reported to duty on 1st December 2022, after the board sitting, Monday Igwe gave her another contract letter postponing her date of resumption to duty to 1st January 2023. She stressed that the MD deliberately avoided stating the duration in this second contract letter according to the civil service rule.
“On January 1st, it was a public holiday, and the supposed date for resumption, the next working day was 2nd January 2023; I started working, teaching, and making some lesson notes In the school only to receive a letter from the MD Monday Igwe on 26 January 2023 that I supposed to have come to the administration for documentation even when nobody Informed me or wrote to me concerning it. All the periods I worked in January 2023 in the school were not paid. Since that October, 2022, I was not paid any salary till February, 2023.
“The MD, Dr. Monday Igwe directed the administration to post me from the school where I retired as the Substantive Principal to the clinical (ward) through the head of Nursing Service (HNS). I appealed to the MD, Dr. Monday Igwe to please let me be in the school where I will be more useful having served over 15 years in that area and more importantly, the school is seriously short staffed with regard to lecturers and teachers.
“As I continued to work in the clinicals (Out-patient Department), the MD will not allow me rest; he comes to the OPD to carry our attendance register to photocopy my attendance in his office and conclude that the signature I sign is not regular/consistent. At times, when the MD comes to our Unit, he would ask of me, they would respond that I took my break time to step out to the school block, even when the records of my duty schedule for the day are there to speak for me. When I come back, they will tell me that MD came to the Unit and that he took the attendance register and photocopied my attendance in his office. I would ask if he requested to see me, and they would say no.
“On May 6th, 2023, I received a query captioned “Request for Explanation.” It read in part that I should explain why I have not been coming to work since January 2023; meanwhile, MD’s posting letter to me to the ward through the Head of Nursing Services (HNS) to me read Friday, 27th January 2023 at 2 pm, that was on a weekend and Monday, 31st January 2023 was on a sit-at-home and the next working day was Tuesday 14th February 2023 when I first reported to the unit for duty. I equally replied to the query the next day, attaching all my evidence of attendance and my duty schedules with my signatures showing the number of patients I cared for as per Injection administration.
“As if that was not enough, on 16th July 2023, 1 received a text message from one Mr. Ogaba, Cletus (Admin staff) at 1.23 pm telling me that the body of the disciplinary committee of FNHE is inviting me to appear on Wednesday, 21st June 2023 at 2 pm. That a hard copy of the invitation may come the next day”.
“In one of his selective victimizing actions in 2022, I cried to the Ministry and petitioned them. The Hon. Minister wrote to me through the Director, Department of Hospital Services, that I should be patient, that they have heard my cry, and that my matter was being attended to.
“The MD was discussing among his colleagues that the reason he wrote my appointment letter without duration was because it would be easy to flush me out when the Hon. Minister goes on 29th May 2023. Of a truth, sir, he implemented it; he did not wait for a pinch for the Minister to go as he started withholding my salaries since May 2023. It does not perturb him whether you are dying as a result of his deliberate punishment and selective oppression”.
Ruth averred that the same selective oppression, persecution, harassment, and victimization acts of the MD, Dr. Monday Igwe made the former Minister Exuma Nkamah to write to him in a circular captioned “A case of miscarriage of justice and selective persecution” that any disciplinary process involving the two officers (Buzo-Maduka, Ruth and Afam Ndu) or any order officer should involve the Ministry to determine, pursuant to the powers of the Minister in section 9 of the Psychiatric Hospital Management Board Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
She recalled, “I was framed up for a murder case in 2019 that took me away from my office as the then principal, but after thorough investigation by a court of competent jurisdiction, I was discharged and acquitted, but Dr. Monday Igwe will not allow me to be. He kept on selectively victimizing, persecuting, oppressing, and harassing me”.