The news of the suspension of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf spread like wild fire last week because this was the second time the embattled head of the NHIS will be suspended over allegations of fraud.
However, the NHIS boss who was first suspended in July 2017 after an investigative panel had accused him of perpetrating fraud to the tune of N919million was again suspended on Thursday over allegations bothering on alleged fraud, insubordination, criminal breach of Procurement Act among others.
The Executive Secretary who has overtime claimed that only the Presidency had the power to suspend or sack him, was controversially reinstated by the President in February 2018, however, hell broke out at the NHIS headquarters on Monday when Professor Yusuf forced his way into his office with the aid of armed policemen.
Reacting to the latest development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to come out clear on why he has been protective of the NHIS boss who has been variously indicted for alleged corrupt practices, including the reported siphoning of over N25billion from the coffers of the agency.
The opposition party said that Monday’s forceful repression of the suspension of the Executive Secretary by the NHIS governing council over humongous corruption allegation and abuse of office, it has become clear that the Presidency cabal is directly complicit in the NHIS fraud and is seeking every means to ensure a cover up.
The PDP recalled that the embattled Executive Secretary, who was first suspended last year by the Minister of Health, was reinstated by the same President Buhari, even while Professor Yusuf was a guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“We ask: Why is the Presidency protecting an official of government openly indicted for corruption? What is the Presidency trying to conceal by ensuring that Prof. Yusuf remains the Executive Secretary after his indictment?
“Why is the Presidency vehemently opposed to any form of investigation on the activities of NHIS under Prof. Yakubu? Is it true that there are fears in the Presidency that an investigation will expose the alleged involvement of individuals close to the President in the reported fraud in the scheme?” the PDP queried.
NHIS workers who were tear-gassed by the armed police officers who escorted Professor Yusuf to the headquarters on Monday have insisted that they will continue with the protest and ground activities at the health agency until the Executive Secretary vacates office.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole reportedly summoned the executive Secretary who met with the Minister at the ministry in the presence of a permanent secretary from the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation.