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NHIS staff rebuff NASS, ask embattled scribe to stay away from premises

By Franka Osakwe and Adamu Abuh, Abuja   |   16 July 2017   |   4:27 am

Prof. Usman Yusuf

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of National Health Insurance Scheme has rebuffed recent order for return of suspended Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf within seven days, by the National Assembly.

The union also expressed displeasure over Yusuf’s refusal to comply with the suspension order, warning him to stay away from the NHIS premises or face the union’s wrath.

In an interview with The Guardian, yesterday, the union’s National Chairman, Comrade Omomeji Abdurasak, said the body stands by the suspension order.

“We have heard that Mr. Yusuf is trying to organise some disgruntled elements to come and cause trouble in the premises. He should better stay away, or we will show him what the union is made of,” he warned.

According to him, Yusuf had carried out illegal recruitment of staff, promoting some of them from level 10 to level 16, without consideration for due process. The union is displeased with this, hence the suspension stands until all investigations are carried out.

However, the union seems happy with newly appointed Acting executive secretary, Mr. Attahiru Ibrahim, who until his appointment, was the General Manager, Contributions Management Department in the scheme’s corporate headquarters.

It would be recalled that earlier this week, the suspended NHIS Executive Secretary officially replied the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, refusing to comply with the suspension.

In his letter dated July 12 on the official letterhead of the NHIS, Yusuf acknowledged receiving the letter directing him to proceed on a three-month suspension, but gave reasons why he would not comply with the suspension.

Following this, the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, asked the health minister to recall Mr. Yusuf, within seven days and to halt the re-accreditation of Health Maintenance Organisations pending outcome of the House’s intervention.

However, an anti corruption non-governmental organisation, United Youth Alliance Against Corruption, has shown displeasure over this development.

The group’s Coordinator, Solomon Agbo, told The Guardian that the National Assembly committee in charge of the case might have been compromised; hence they have lost faith in its judgment.

He said their hope for justice now rests on the suit filed against Mr. Yusuf, currently at the Abuja High Court.

The Guardian gathered that the group is one of the main petitioners accusing Yusuf of corruption.

In their petition dated May 15 2017, the group accused the NHIS boss of awarding contracts of N400m for ICT training, which was beyond his approval limit of N2.5m, and for the purchase of a Land Cruiser Jeep at the cost of N49.1m. They accused him of awarding these contracts without following laid down procedures and of approving Supply of E-library equipment to a company named Promatrix Global Resources Ltd. for N28m, with the company getting paid before execution. Mr. Yusuf was also accused of illegal recruitment of staff among other crimes.

In reaction to all this, the Publicity Secretary, Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), Dr. Lekan Ewenla, said Prof. Yusuf needs to be investigated and prosecuted for several of his actions.

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“He connived with his friends and approved so many irrelevant trainings for amount that is way beyond his limit. He has been running the place like his personal enterprise since assumption of duty. He also seconded 15 staff from the north and placed some of them above general manager position. Meanwhile, he doesn’t have the power to appoint members of staff,” he said.

According to Dr. Ewenla, part of the problem stems from the fact that the scheme has no council member yet.

“Under the law, the governing council is meant to appoint such number of staff, but in its absence, the appointments should go through the minister of health’s approval.




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