By Peter Dada, Akure
Medical workers at the Ondo State Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Akure, on Thursday protested against an alleged insensitivity of the state government towards their welfare.
The protesters alleged that the government exposed them to attacks by psychiatric patients, who often assaulted them while on duty.
It was gathered that the protest was staged after a patient, identified as Folorunsho Olawale, who was brought in by men of the Ondo State Police Command, allegedly attacked the nurses on duty and destroyed some equipment of the hospital on Wednesday.
A source said Olawale went to a police station in Akure and allegedly confessed to have been involved in the killing of Khadijat, the daughter of a former deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo.
The source said, “After he was quizzed at the station, the police suspected that Olawale had a mental problem because his statement was incoherent and he was behaving abnormally. He was subsequently taken to the psychiatric hospital.”
The source said the patient was aggressive at the hospital, adding that on Wednesday, he allegedly stabbed two nurses and beat up the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Akinwumi Akinloye.
The nurses and other medical workers of the psychiatric hospital were said to have informed the Permanent Secretary of the Hospital Management Board, Dr Niran Ikuomola, about the matter.
He was said to have told the workers to go back to their offices, which did not go down well with the employees.
Ikuomola’s reaction was said to have led to the Thursday protest, as the workers vowed not to return to work until the government addressed issues of their welfare and safety.
However, the permanent secretary accused union leaders of the hospital of inciting employees against the government, saying the workers had the right to table their grievances, but in a peaceful manner.
“We are going to address the challenges confronting the hospital, like power and security. I have assured the workers that we will table them before the state governor,” he said.
The Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council in the state, Mr Opeyemi Oloniyo, said the workers wanted action and not words.
He said “I want to believe that we are not in an animal kingdom. We heard of the attack on some nurses and doctors of this hospital and we came to pacify the workers to go back to work this morning.
“But it is unfortunate that the PS just came here and ordered the workers to go back to their work without addressing the issues at hand. He said we had no right to address our members.
“But we want to say enough is enough because nothing seems to be working here and this is not acceptable to us.”
The Public Relations Officer of the state police command, Mr Femi Joseph, confirmed that the psychiatric patient was a suspect and was taken to the hospital by the command.
He said, “When he started behaving abnormally, he was taken to the psychiatric hospital to test his level of sanity because we did not know whether he was on drug or he had a mental disorder; that was why we took him to the hospital.”