NHIS Secretary defies Health Minister's suspension

Joan Terry
July 16, 2017

It also asked the minister to halt the re-accreditation of Health Maintenance Organisations, HMOs, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation of the scheme by the House.

There is a situation with the administration of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which is brewing into a clash of powers that could stink.

Yusuf maintained that it was only the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who appointed him, that could remove him from office, which has tenure of five years in the first instance and another five, if renewed.

For months now, the NHIS has been enmeshed in a multi-dimensional crisis set off by allegations of N860m procurement fraud and other breaches of procedure involving the Executive Secretary, Prof Usman Yusuf.

The directive that the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf, should proceed on a three-month suspension is generating controversies as he insisted that only President Muhammadu Buhari can order his suspension.

Aminu Masari, said he was not going to obey the suspension order.

The lawmakers who queried the legality or otherwise of the suspension imposed on the NHIS Executive Secretary, alleged that the Minister who was not suspended by the President despite series of documentary petitions against him, has no moral justification to suspend the NHIS boss for 90 days.

Yusuf in a letter dated July 12 replied Adewole that he would not comply with the July 6 suspension order.

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"With utmost respect sir, I am unable to comply with your directive". Otherwise, with over 18,000 petitions pending against public office holders before the EFCC and ICPC as at the end of June 2017, the total number of public officers who would have been on suspension by now including Honourable Ministers is left to be imagined.

"The mere fact that there are pending petitions against a public officer which are yet to be substantiated does not constitute a ground for suspension under Public Service Rules".

A spokesperson to the health ministry, Boade Akinola, however said the ministry was not yet in receipt of the house resolution.

He said the minister's action tended to make people uncomfortable to give evidence at House public hearings, adding that the suspension would also jeopardise the outcome of ongoing probe of the scheme.

There is also emerging report that the committee investigating Yusuf has received more petitions against him.

PREMIUM TIMES broke the news of Mr. Yusuf's suspension last week over corruption allegations.

It was further leant that a petition from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation which contains 23 allegations against Yusuf had also been sent to the committee. The fund in possession of NHIS is a Contributory Fund by Nigerian workers.

Other reports by BadHub

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