A principal nursing officer (PNO) at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), in Sagamu, Ogun State, Ajibola Oluwafunke, has been sacked for speaking on the welfare of nurses on a radio interview.
Mrs Ajibola, who is the Treasurer of the Nigerian Nurses & Midwifery of Nigeria (NANNM), OOUTH Unit, spoke with PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Sunday.
Her dismissal letter signed by the hospital’s Director of Administration, A. Awoyomi, is dated November 25. It did not give the reason for Mrs Ajibola’s dismissal.
“I have the directive of the Hospital Management to inform you that your service is no longer required by this Teaching Hospital with immediate effect.
“While thanking you for the past services rendered, you will be paid a month salary in lieu of notice alongside your November salary.
“You are to forward your identity card with any other Hospital property in your possession through the Deputy Director, Nursing Services to the Hospital Management,” the letter read.
Mrs Ajibola said she was invited to speak on an online radio programme, “Nurses Arise Radio”, on October 5 where she spoke about the welfare of nurses at OOUTH.
“Nurses’ Radio is a platform for nurses and focusses on issues affecting the nursing profession, vis-à-vis nurses welfare and rights,” she said.
She said as “an elected principal nurse of my hierarchy,” she did not need a formal permission to honour her invitation to the programme.
“I spoke about how nurses are being mistreated and how some persons got sack letters for demanding accountability.
“Following my appearance on ‘Nurses Arise Radio’, I was given a query letter November 3, 2020, by the Director of Administration, OOUTH, Mr A. A. Awoyomi. My sin, according to the letter, was the interview granted.”
In the query letter seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the hospital management asked Mrs Ajibola to explain why disciplinary actions should not be taken against her for her “gross misconduct.”
It said she did not get the permission of the management of the hospital before granting the interview.
The nurse responded to the query the following day, stating that what she said on the radio were her personal views.
But on November 11, she got a follow-up query asking her to appear before a disciplinary panel.
But at the panel, she said she was handed the sack letter, dated November 25. She said she went to the hospital the following day to protest her unlawful termination, but was bundled out of the premises by officers of the hospital’s security and SSS.
Cry for help
Mrs Ajibola appealed to Nigerians to intervene against the violation of her right to freedom of expression and the unlawful termination of her appointment.
“As a due diligent staff guided by the ethics of my nursing profession, I have enjoyed steady promotions since I joined Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital in 2006.”
She said she was promoted to the rank of Principal Nursing Officer in 2015 and was due for promotion to the rank of Assistant Chief Nursing Officer as of 2018.
“I have no record of professional misconduct or negligence of duty until my appointment was wrongfully terminated on the 25th November, 2020. All my life, justice for nurses and mankind has been my agitations.
“In line with the condition of service booklet of OOUTH, I have written an appeal letter to the new board of management who I am hoping will help me to look into the matter and reinstate me for justice to reign.
“I want to appeal to all meaning Nigerians most especially our new board of management to please save my soul as I am just recuperating from a major surgery and have many dependants.
“I want to return to my duty post while still alive, despite the psychological trauma this incident has caused me and my family.”
PREMIUM TIMES reached out to the management of OOUTH for reaction on why Mrs Ajibola was sacked from work.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Peter Adefuye, confirmed the sack of Mrs Ajibola.
“The management sacked her, not the CMD,” he simply said.
Meanwhile, a coalition of nurses and concerned youth in the hospital have demanded the reinstatement of Mrs Ajibola.
The leader of the coalition, Thomas Abiodun, told journalists in Abeokuta on Monday that Mrs Ajibola’s sack was unlawful.
“We are calling on the state government to intervene. Whenever our contemporaries abroad come visiting, we look like pieces of rag beside them. This is not because we are not working hard but because we are being overworked and underpaid.
“Mrs Ajibola is diligent and has no record of negligence,” Mr Abiodun said.
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