March 27, 2024

We can’t work in darkness, UCH workers cry out



 Workers of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, have deplored working in darkness and appealed to well meaning Nigerians and government at all levels to come to their aid.

They said this on Wednesday during a congress organised by Joint Action Committee (JAC), the umbrella body of all the unions in the hospital.

The congress had in attendance members of Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and others.

The JAC Chairman, Mr Oludayo Olabampe told Newsmen that the workers had been working without light since March 19.

Recall that the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) disconnected the UCH power supply over alleged accumulated indebtedness.

Olabampe urged senators, government at all levels, well meaning Nigerians and the Oyo State government to urgently intervene in the issue.

“A whole UCH not having light for weeks is unheard of. We need the help of all people because this has gone beyond UCH.

“This will be the third time IBEDC will disconnect us, throwing us into total darkness.

“It is not easy doing our work in darkness, it has been like this since March 19 and they insist that UCH should pay hundreds of millions before restoring the light.

“I don’t know where UCH will get such money from; UCH is not a profit making organisation.

“So we call on even Oyo State governor, Gov. Makinde should please come to our aid.

“We love him, voted him in and now we really need his help,” he said.

Olabampe emphasised that if power was not restored by Tuesday, April 2, the unions will be forced to direct their members to reduce their working time.

“The working time will now be between the hours of 8. 00 a.m. and 4. 00 p.m., no shift or duty; though on a good day the hospital runs 24 hours.

“But you can’t say you are on duty without light, doing what? We can’t continue to work in darkness. It’s very risky and dangerous for us to be working without light.

“We have also issued a 14-day ultimatum to the UCH management starting from yesterday, March 26. If after the 14 days, power is not restored, we will embark on seven days warning strike.

“So we call on government, minister of power, health and all to come to our aide, so that normalcy will return to UCH, because leaving us like this is seriously going to affect lives, ” he said.

Meanwhile, the UCH management has assured the staff, patients and public that everything is being done to have power supply restored to the hospital.

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Dr Abiodun Adeoye, told Newsmen that the management had opened discussion with IBEDC, and had also written to the Federal Ministry of Health for special interventions.

He added that the ministry of Health had also communicated to the ministry of power so the two ministries are doing their best to find a holistic solution to it.

“On our own part here, we have put inverter in some critical areas such as clinics and wards.

“We have generator dedicated to power the theatre, ICU and labour rooms.

“Also, the management constituted an Energy Committee led by Dr Obaro Michael to look into the short term and long term solutions to energy issues in the hospital.

“We feel the pain this might be causing, but we are not folding our hands and watching,” he said.