Presidency Reacts To NHIS Crisis, Suspension Of Executive Secretary

presidency reacts

Presidency Reacts To NHIS Crisis, Suspension Of Executive Secretary

Abuja, Nigeria News 23rd October, 2018: A presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, says the Presidency has stepped into the crisis rocking the National Health Insurance Scheme following the purported suspension of its Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Governing Council of the NHIS had, on October 18, suspended Yusuf over alleged gross misconduct.

But Yusuf resumed work on Friday, a day after his fresh suspension by the council.

Some workers, acting under the aegis of Association of Civil Servants of Nigeria, and Medical and Health Workers Union of NHIS, almost prevented him from gaining entrance to the office on Monday; but their colleagues at the Nigeria Civil Service Union in support of Yusuf mobilised themselves and countered the protest.

The situation that almost degenerated into security breach was, however, contained with the intervention of a combined team of Police, civil defence and state security operatives.

However, the presidential aide said Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; and the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, had intervened in the NHIS crisis with a view to finding lasting solutions.

Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, noted with regret that the NHIS crisis had been ethnicised and politicised by some interest groups within and outside the agency.

“Did the board follow due process in suspending this gentleman? There are opinions that said, ‘No, they haven’t.’

“Again, we all have to do the right thing all of the times. I don’t deny the fact that there is a lot of work to do, but the crisis has been complicated by the fact that the whole thing about the NHIS has been ethnicised and politicised.

“Even a political party was issuing a statement on matters that are unknown to it!

“I’ll tell you one thing. You know that no matter whatever mistakes this gentleman may have made, it is to be proved. He has launched a major reform in that institution which had blocked access to public resources.

“Money from the NHIS is not money belonging to government, it is money taken from your salary, from my salary.

“If we have been enlisted, we are supposed to get treatment when we fall ill. You should ask the question in 13 years of the NHIS how many Nigerians have received treatment.

“Yet, you have HMOs, these vendors, taking N5bn every month, money that is just being shared and somebody came and said, ‘Look, this can’t go on;’ and with strong support from this administration, the N5bn has been reduced to N1.3bn.

“And even then, the administration is not satisfied. We want to see healthcare delivered to the citizens of this country. So, there is a lot of work to do,’’ he said.

The presidential aide stated that he was not in the position to challenge the allegations of wrongdoings levelled against the executive secretary in some quarters.

Shehu, however, maintained that the two chambers of the National Assembly had previously cleared the Executive Secretary of the allegations against him.

He also dismissed the accusation of ‘double standards’ by the Buhari administration while dealing with cases of corruption in the country.

He said it was wrong to compare the case of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, and that of the NHIS scribe.

NAN also recalls that the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, had earlier suspended Yusuf over similar allegations on July 6, 2017.

But the Federal Government reinstated him on February 6, 2018, after an administrative panel found him not guilty of the allegations of abuse of office and maladministration. Yusuf resumed work on February 8, 2018.


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