Imo Residents Protest Prolonged Crisis At FMC Owerri

Imo Residents Protest Prolonged Crisis At FMC OwerriConcerned residents have taken to the streets of Owerri, the Imo state capital, to call on various interest groups at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), to give peace a chance.

For over a year, the medical centre has been plunged into what seems to be unending controversy and disagreement between the management and the workers.

The prolonged crisis is over the recall of the medical director of the institution, who the workers say they no longer feel comfortable with.

Now, a group of Imo citizens are intervening in the crisis, calling on all concerned to sheath their sword.

fmc3Leader of the protesters, Mr Princewill Okowe, said the FMC Owerri “was set up for the benefits of the Imo people and not unionists and for over one year, the people that claim to be unionists have made the FMC not to function normally”.

According to o him, “the Federal Medical Centre is the only federal tertiary health institution we have in Imo state”.

“If that centre is messed up, any health challenge at the level of tertiary health care, will mean that the Imolites would have to travel to other states to access tertiary health care and that wouldn’t met with the good welfare of our people,” he stressed.

Financial Misappropriation

The institution’s MD, Mrs Angela Uwakwem, was arraigned by the Economic and Finanacial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on an 18 count charge, bordering on financial misappropriation and embezzlement to the tune of 242 million Naira.

This followed a petition by the (Joint Health Sector Union) JOHESU Of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mainforce Ekwu, alleged that according to the petition, Mrs Uwakwem, conspired with one Mr Emmanuel Ajayi, to inflate the price of medical equipment bought for the centre.

The accused on the other hand, pleaded not guilty to the 18 count charge leveled against her.

EFCC Arraigns Man for Issuance Of Dud Cheque

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, September 26, 2014, arraigned one Christopher Nduka before Justice Tukur Muhammed of Kaduna State High Court on one count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheque to the tune of 982,000 Naira.

The accused pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.

The count reads:

…that you Christopher Nduka on or about the 29th July, 2011 at Kaduna within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Kaduna State knowingly and fraudulently issued a cheque No. 05079552 dated 22nd July, 2011 in the sum of Nine Hundred and Eighty Two Thousand Naira only payable to Zitros Health Nigeria Limited from account No. 1120805582 domiciled at Equitorial Trust Bank, knowing that there is no fund standing to the credit of the said account and the cheque was returned unpaid upon presentation to the bank and thereby committing an offence contrary to section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under section 1 (1) (b) of the dishonoured cheque offences Act CAP D 11 Laws of the Federation 2004.”

Upon his plea, counsel to EFCC, Musa Isah, urged the court to fix a date for trial to commence.

However, the defence counsel, H.U Gimba, prayed the court to admit the accused person to bail saying the alleged offence is bailable.

Isah objected to the bail application on the ground that, the accused person had failed to honour the terms of administrative bail earlier granted him by the Commission. The prosecuting counsel argued that the accused, if admitted to bail, would likely make himself unavailable for trial.

Justice Muhammed after listening to the argument of both counsel, granted the accused person bail in the sum of N500, 000 and a surety in like sum who must be a level 12 civil servant.

The surety must have evidence of a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. The accused person must also deposit his international passport with the registrar of the court.

The case was adjourned to November 28, 2014 for commencement of trial.