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Commotion as suspended NHIS boss storms office

Workers and union leaders of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) protest over the refusal of the agency’s executive secretary Prof. Usman Yusuf to obey the suspension order by the governing council of NHIS, in Abuja yesterday.
Workers and union leaders of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) protest over the refusal of the agency’s executive secretary Prof. Usman Yusuf to obey the suspension order by the governing council of NHIS, in Abuja yesterday.

The suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Usman Yusuf, reported for official duty yesterday.

Prof Yusuf was suspended indefinitely by the scheme’s governing council led by Dr Efene Eyantu on Thursday to pave way for investigation into allegations of corruption against him.

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This is even as the Minister of Health Isaac Adewole said the government will take appropriate steps to ‘restore peace’ at the NHIS.

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The minister told the Premium Times yesterday that he was yet to be properly briefed on the issue, adding that “Once I get full details of what is happening, I will send my report to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).”

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The suspended ES, who was at his office at Utako at about few minutes past 9.00am, was accompanied by security men who teargassed protesters who tried to prevent him from gaining entrance into the premise.

Daily Trust reports that the atmosphere was charged as protesters for and against the ES spread all over the office premises singing different solidarity songs with some carrying placard with different inscriptions.

Speaking to journalists, the chairman of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), Muhammad Gajo, said those protesting against Prof Yusuf’s resumption are those benefiting from the corruption going on in the scheme.

He said the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has derailed from her primary responsibility of seeking staff welfare hence the need for them to form their own union for the yearning and aspiration of the staff.

But the chairman of ASCSN, Omomeji Abdulrasak, said Prof Yusuf was only suspended and not sacked, adding that nobody is questioning the authority of the president to hire and fire but what we are saying is that he should step aside and allow investigations to be carried out properly.

“But we maintain our stand that President Muhammadu Buhari is ill-informed about the activities of the ES. If we continue like this, people will continue to score this administration low,” he said.

Assistant GM planning in NHIS Abubakar Kurfi said Prof Yusuf came into the scheme with a very articulate and robust plan to change the way things were done, adding that he has recovered N1.2 billion and insisted everyone must pay back money they have taken which is in TSA.

While demanding for the paper approving the suspension of Prof Yusuf, he said “Even the minister has no power to suspend the ES, but has the power to give oversight function.”

“The last time he was suspended, the president reinstated him because he was not found guilty of all the corruption allegations,” he said.

Olawuyi Kayode, chairman, NHIS Joint Workers Union also said there is the need to help President Muhammadu Buhari because he cannot be everywhere at the same time.

He added that since he has mandated the governing council to suspend based on infraction he should support them in carrying out their duty.

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