The Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU), Nnamdi Azikiwe University chapter has written to the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige complaining about the exclusion of one of its members from the selection process for the post of Chief Medical Director of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, (NAUTH) Awka, Anambra State.
The Chairman of ASUU at the institution, Dr. Steve Ufoaroh made this allegation in a petition to the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, saying Prof. Echendu Adinma was unlawfully excluded from to the CMD contest.
Pursuant to an advertisement for the CMD position at the NAUTH, the petition said Adinma, a Professor of Community Medicine and an ASUU member applied for the position and on March 24 her name was shortlisted among the 19 other candidates who qualified to be screened for the said position.
However, according to the petition, Adinma did not receive an invitation for the final interview after the screening exercise.
It said: “Sequel to a discreet investigation it was discovered that she was screened out only on the ground that she was over 56years ‘deemed’ unqualified for the said position and discriminatorily ‘tagged’ over age.”
It stated that the requirements for the position were clearly spelt out and that being 56 years or less was not one of the listed criteria that applicants were required to meet.
It cited the Federal Civil Service Rules which provided that the retirement age of professors in the academic field would be 70 years.
The petition read in part: “In the same vein, the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards, etc.) Act of 1985, Section 5, clearly states the required criteria for appointment to the office of CMD, and being 56 year old or less is not one of the requirements of the Act.
“It is grossly unjust, unlawful and discriminatory to have denied our member her rights to participate in the said interview for the post of CMD NAUTH Nnewi which held on Monday the 10th of May, 2021 at Merit House, Abuja, when she had been duly shortlisted and is eminently qualified for the said position, more so she had called the attention of the Honourable Minister of Health to the gross anomaly, in a formal letter.”
ASUU asked the minister to use his good office “to urgently redress and intervene on this matter and allow our member to be invited for interview in a due diligence process, seeing that the previous screening and interview appear to be bereft of merit, guided by discrimination and aimed at depriving our member of her rights.”
The petition was copied to Attorney General of the Federation, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
ASUU wondered why its member was being disqualified on the basis of age when the federal government had approved new retirement age for workers in the sector.
Under the new condition of service, the retirement age of health workers was increased from 60 years to 65 years.
Also the retirement age for medical consultants is 70 years