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FMC leadership must be suspended, investigated —NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Medical Dorector, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Dr. Angela Uwakem, to step down and allow investigation on alleged corruption to be conducted without undue interference.

The labour union also called on the federal government to investigate the relationship between Dr. Angela Uwakem and Justice Florence Duruoha, following the ruling on the matter before her.

According to NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, “we drew the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to a case of (alleged) corruption, violation of public civil service rules and victimization of whistle blowers at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri in a letter entitled: The Fight Against Corruption Must Be Sustained dated October 28, 2016.

“Today, we find it necessary to avail you developments in the case. Dr. Angela Uwakem, the Medical Director in question, together with Mr Emmanuel Ajayi and his company, Swiss Biostadt Ltd, were arraigned on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, before the Justice Florence Duruoha of Imo State High Court, Owerri.

“Against all known principles of Law, her Lordship upheld the arguments of the defence counsel that the accused persons cannot take their plea until the application challenging the jurisdiction of the court is determined. In upholding the arguments of the defence counsel, her Lordship stated inter alia:

“I am minded to consider the application challenging the jurisdiction of the court before taking the plea of the accused persons, and will also take the accused motion for bail before their arraignment and plea”.

He said the union expressed both judicial and administrative.

“At the judicial level, and with all due sense of humility, we believe this ruling is procured and in furtherance of corruption which the SSS and EFCC have been fighting in the judiciary.

“At the administrative level, this arraignment makes necessary and urgent the invocation of the Public Service Rules 030406 and 030411 which respectively state as follows:

“It shall apply where a prima facie case, the nature of which is serious, has been established against an officer and it is considered necessary in public interest that he/she should forthwith be prohibited  from carrying out his/her duties.”

Pending investigation into the misconduct, the Federal Civil Service Commission or the Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra-Ministerial Office (if within his/her delegated powers) shall forthwith suspend him/her from the exercise of the powers and functions of his/her office from the enjoyment of his/her emolument”.

“a. Nothing shall prevent disciplinary action being taken or continued against an officer whether or not; i. Criminal proceedings have been instituted with respect to such a person in any court of law in Nigeria or elsewhere or are about to be instituted or are contemplated; or “ii. The grounds upon such which any criminal charge are based or are to be based substantially the same as those upon which the disciplinary proceedings were or are to be instituted.

“We would wish to invite you to Compel Dr Uwakem to stop performing her official functions until her case is dispensed with by a competent court of jurisdiction; Immediately put in place security cordon around the whistle blowers that led to the investigation and arraignment of Dr Uwakem and secure all incriminating documents still in the custody of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri,” he said.