AEFUTH doctors narrate how they've been forced to borrow money after working for 5 months without pay

A number of resident doctors working at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital (AEFUTH) in Abakiliki have taken to Twitter to cry out over non-payment of salaries since they started working at the institution.

The doctors, who were employed to AEFUTH in December, alleged they have not been paid since they resumed work till now (5 months) and there is little to no hope of receiving their salaries until the COVID-19 crisis is over.

Most of the doctors ahave taken to borrowing money from friends and they shared how embarrassing it has been for them as medical doctors and essential workers, working everyday during the lockdown, yet having to borrow money from friends who are staying at home.

A medical doctor who works at AEFUTH told LIB of a resident doctor at Abakiliki who broke down in tears during surgery after he got news that his father suffered a stroke and is now in a coma.

In the presence of patients, the doctor was inconsolable as he lamented the fact that he never received his salary for one day since he started working and as such, he cannot take care of his sick father or reward him for all the years he sent him to school.

Doctors who spoke to LIB explained that they were informed that in order to get paid, their bio-data will have to be captured into the IPPIS first. Unfortunately, the IPPIS office in Abuja is on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the affected doctors said: "They keep telling us that unless IPPIS comes to capture us that we will never be paid. Even if the pandemic keeps getting worse as it is currently getting. 

'Even if it lasts for 2 years. They keep saying there is no way we will be paid. Imagine the injustice.

"Some of us had good jobs we were doing before we got here. We only came here to work for the government and do residency. Imagine my sadness to have left a comfortable life for this evil system that doesn’t care if I died or not? 

"I wonder why they are so inefficient. How could they simply refuse to pay us unless the pandemic ends?

"I have tried all my best to get a loan but nothing is forth coming because I have borrowed so much already. I have tried to sell anything of worth that I have but no buyers are coming since the pandemic froze the economy. I am totally broken and bankrupt and feeding is now very difficult for me."

The doctors said they have gone to complain  to management but were threatened with retrenchment if they keep complaining.

Another doctor told LIB: "It’s not like we hadn’t started earlier to plead with them to find a way to pay us only for them to keep telling us to basically keep quiet and die in silence in order to still keep our jobs.

"Imagine that? Threatening workers who are being owed with sack simply because they are asking for their salaries?

"I remember the first time we went to ask the management about our salaries. Having waited for four months, we had gathered a few of us and went to the management to ask for our pay. We were almost in tears as we went. We were hoping for something hopeful only to get told to go home if we were tired of working. 

"They didn’t even consider that we were heavily in debts and basically had no means of survival even if we went home. 

"Can you imagine me going home to depend on my aged parents? The wickedness in this country will astound even the devil."

He continued: "I have not been paid any salaries since I started working for the federal government as a resident doctor.

It’s been 5 months now without pay, and counting. It’s been 5 months of starvation and lack, of desperation and fear, of anxiety and total despondence.

"I am the first born who is supposed to cater for my family. Especially with the coronavirus pandemic which has totally erased my old parent’s other means of livelihood. 

"It’s been five months of total hopelessness because the hospital I am working for, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki has been telling us all sorts of stories pertaining when we will be paid. The last time we were addressed we were simply told to keep quiet and wait for the pandemic to be over before we would be captured by IPPIS and hence, be considered for payment."

A married father who works at AEFUTH lamented about the situation. He said the salaries owed them has made him unable to fulfill his responsibilities to his family. He added that his wife and children are starving and his wife has been forced to take up odd jobs to provide for the family.

Below are tweets from doctors narrating their ordeal.

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