October 4, 2023

Uthman Salami

A 34-year-old nurse of the Ogun State College of Health Technology, Ilese-Ijebu, Olamide Thomas, has cried out for justice after the school management terminated her appointment on the suspicion that she was the whistleblower who wrote a petition against workers of the school that were hoarding and selling National Health Insurance Scheme drugs meant for students of the school.

Reportr Door gathered that sometime in August 2022, a whistleblower petitioned the Zone 2 Command about some workers of the school who were illegally hoarding and selling the NHIS drugs to pharmaceutical shops in the area.

The Zone 2 Command, while investigating the case, was said to have invited some members of the institution regarding the matter.

Thomas, while speaking with our correspondent, said while she alongside other workers was at the command, the investigating police officer showed them the petition written by the whistleblower.

In the petition sighted by our correspondent, the whistleblower accused the school’s registrar of deducting money from the salaries of the workers of the school for verification and diverting the money for personal use.

The petition read in part, “The registrar deducted N7,500 from the salaries of each staff for verification exercise which she never did but diverted the funds for personal use, and having a share of proceeds from sales of NHIS drugs meant for students, sharing from proceeds from sales of clinic’s biggest generator, and suppression of right administrative procedures.”

Thomas said things took another turn when her colleagues started accusing her of being the whistleblower when they returned to the school following their visit to the Zone 2 Command.

She said, “In August last year, there was a petition by a whistleblower at the Zone 2 Command. We were invited by the Zonal Monitoring Unit Squad of the command and when we got there, we were shown the petition that some staff members of the school were accused of hoarding the NHIS drugs to sell.

“The registrar, Mrs. Abimbola Oyefeso, was also accused of sharing in the proceeds and other allegations. When we returned to the institution, my colleagues said they are suspecting I was the whistleblower.”

Thomas said following the allegation that she was the whistleblower, and despite nothing linking her to the petition the whistleblower wrote to the police, she was suspended by the school management.

She said, “As the case was going on, in November, my drink was poisoned at work. I waited for the management to take action for six weeks but nothing was done.

“In January 2023, I was told I had a letter, so I sent someone to help me retrieve it and to my surprise, it was a letter terminating my appointment.

“It was in the letter that I got to know the reason for the termination. They said I externalised an internal issue by involving the police and a media outlet.”

Thomas said she decided to speak out because she wanted justice, adding that the school terminated her appointment on the assumption that she was the whistleblower.

Contacted, the Commissioner for Education in the state, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu, said, “I don’t have any hand in that. It is a matter with the management and the Governing Council. The governing council handled the matter. I am not going to interfere.”

When contacted, Oyefeso said she was not authorised to speak on the issue.

She said, “I am not in a position to answer to that for now because it is an official thing. The issue is left with the Chairman of the council and the governing council who took the decision on her which I know is not premised on what she has said. But if I discuss it with the chairman and council members and if permitted to grant a press statement, I will call you back.”

The spokesperson for the Zone 2 Command, Hauwa Idris-Adamu, said, “There is a petition like that in the zone. The police did not tell her that they should go and settle the case amicably within themselves. A petition was written to the zone and the police assigned it to a section.

“The section handling the case invited the alleged persons and when they came, they begged the police to give them the grace of solving it internally within their medical line and they went away thinking that the issue would be resolved.

“Then the lady came back again, said she was poisoned and rushed to the hospital. It was at the hospital they confirmed her drink was poisoned. She also complained about the termination of her appointment. She is seeking justice which is why she reported the case to the police.”

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