BY CHIDI NKWOPARA, OWERRI.
Scores of patients were on Monday forced to seek medical attention in other hospitals, as staff of Imo Specialist Hospital, Owerri, downed tools to protest non-payment of eight months of their salaries.
As at 11.30am when Vanguard called at the scene of the protest, the aggrieved workers had securely locked the hospital’s main gate and barred all vehicles from entering the premises, including a police patrol van that brought a lifeless body to the hospital for preservation.
Some of the workers, who spoke on strict grounds of anonymity, said they had even advised doctors to immediately discharge all patients admitted in the hospital, especially as they were not prepared to continue slaving for the state government.
Some of the placards carried by the protesting workers read: “What have we done to Rochas? What have we done to deserve this I’ll-treatment? Imo will be better. Is it like this? Pay us. We worked for it. Remember we have dependants. Eight months is not eight weeks”.
A traumatized nurse said: “We have not received our salaries for eight months. We were only given ourApril and May 2013 salaries last December and it was after we blocked the road, as we did now, to drive home our demand for payment of our salaries”.
On the rumour making the rounds that government has sold the hospital, the woman said it was not the concern of workers, adding that their interest was their salaries and allowances.