Dr. Audi

…Victims said she was shocked, traumatised at sight of rifles up close

Juliana Francis

A distraught former staff of Eastern Nigeria Medical Centre, otherwise known as Dr. Nlogha Okeke Memo Med. Foundation, Ms. Faith Edile, has narrated how shocked and traumatised she was when her Medical Director, Mr. Emeka Okeke came with armed officials of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), to issue her a termination of appointment letter.

According to Edile, that was the first time she would be seeing guns up close, and it got her seriously shaken. She became petrified and fretted, worried that something terrible was going to be done to her.

The distraught lady said that receiving a termination letter was nothing new, especially when one works in a private establishment, but getting your appointment letter served to you, with the director accompanied by men wielding guns naturally made her believe there was a plan to harm her.

She has also insisted that in all the years she worked in the hospital establishment as a manager, she had never resorted to violence, so could not fathom the reason for the deployment of armed operatives to her office to hand her the termination of appointment letter.

The lady, who recalled the event like it was yesterday, explained that it happened on Tuesday the 23rd of May 2023.

She narrated: “On Tuesday of the 23rd of May 2023, one of the Directors Emeka Okeke of our hospital came in with two armed NCSDC officials and handed me a letter. Mr. Okeke insisted that I must read the letter immediately.

“On opening the letter, I discovered it was a termination of appointment. I was surprised, I never had an inkling and while I was still processing it, my boss ordered that I should hand over everything with me that belonged to the hospital to two other management staff he called into my office.

“He then insisted that they should go through my personal laptop to ensure I did not have any hospital documents in it. He damaged my laptop when he tried to seize it forcefully.

“It was one of the NCSDC officers that stopped him from causing further damage to it. After I handed over to the two staff, the NCSDC officers marched me out of the hospital, while one of them, who introduced himself as Mr. Collins, followed me until I got to my quarters.”

Edile said that in all the years she has worked with the hospital, which was close to seven years, they had always used private guards to man their gates.

She maintained that the hospital intentionally got the armed men for the sole purpose of issuing her the termination letter.

She said that aside from deliberately setting out to traumatised her, she also felt the director, for reasons best known to him also wanted to humiliate and shame her, thus when she was being marched out by the NCSDC officers, all her colleagues gathered, whispering, and looking at her as she was a common thief.

She added: “In the evening of that same day, a friend came to look for me and the NCSDC officers stopped him from coming to my quarters, thereby infringing on my fundamental rights. I didn’t know that part of the job description of NCSDC officials was to come with guns to issue termination of appointment letters and to harass visitors.

“My visitor called me, expressing shock over the refusal of the NCSDC men to allow him to see me. He asked me repeatedly about the crime I had committed, to warrant visitors not being allowed to see me, but I did not commit any crime. If I had committed a crime, a police station was close to our hospital, why didn’t our director go there to lodge a complaint?

“I had to go out to ask one of the officers if I was under house arrest. He tried to excuse what they did by saying he only told my visitor that it was late. Meanwhile, it was just 7:30 PM. It seems to me that these NCSDC officials were taken primarily to monitor my movement until Thursday, which was when I moved out of the hospital quarters.”

Our reporter called Okeke to hear his side of the story, but he did not pick up his calls. Our reporter had to send WhatsApp messages, explaining the allegations against him and the hospital by Edile, he read the messages but did not respond.

On the second day, our reporter also reached out to him again, but he still did not comment.

The spokesman for the Enugu State Command, NCSDC, Mr. Denny Manuel, reacting to the incident, gave another slant to the drama that played out at Eastern Nigeria Medical Centre.

His words: “We have concluded our investigation. What happened is that the owner of the hospital requested security. He came to our office and wrote officially because he said that he had some places he wanted to go, and we gave him security. In the process, he went to deliver that letter.

“It is wrong to say that NCSDC officers delivered that letter! The director went to deliver the letter himself. We asked him why he went with security to deliver the termination of appointment letter to the lady, he said that he didn’t want any uproar.

“He said that he wanted peace, which was why he went with security to deliver the termination letter. When our men went there with him, they removed the magazines from their rifles and they were standing aloof. It was not our men that delivered that letter. Our men were there to make sure there was no breakdown of law and order.

“They did not take part in anything. The man didn’t tell NCSDC that he was going to deliver a termination of appointment letter. He applied for security for two days and in the two days, he went about his businesses, which the letter he went to deliver was part of.

“We didn’t know about the letter. We are not mail runners, and neither are we courier services. He delivered the letter himself. We don’t know anything about the termination letter and that’s our stand till tomorrow.

“It is not NCSDC that marched her to her quarters, it was the accountant and auditor of the hospital that marched her to her quarters. We have the full details of the matter. Are you aware that she slept in that quarters for two days? If they marched her out, she wouldn’t have been allowed to sleep there. We are not directly involved in this matter. We only did our job as a security agency.”

Part of the termination letter reads: “You must also vacate the flat assigned to you in the staff quarters within 72 hours of receipt of this termination of appointment letter. The hospital’s accounts department will be advised to process the referenced one-month salary upon confirmation that you have completed your handover and have vacated the flat in the staff quarters.”

The letter was issued to her on Tuesday, while she vacated the quarters on Thursday. Edile’s home and family are in Lagos State, thus she had to hurriedly leave Enugu, selling off almost all her property at giveaway prices.

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