Health insurance scheme under threat as Minister, Exec Sec fight dirty

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In addition to reversing the suspension, the House also asked Adewole to halt the re-accreditation of Health Maintenance Organisations, HMOs, pending the outcome of its own investigation of the scheme.

The House stressed the importance of the NHIS scheme as crucial for the health of Nigerians and financing thereof and highlighted the wellness of the enrollees and the dangers that the helpless enrollees will face in the light of the current situation of things.

Recall that Yusuf was suspended via a memo issued by the Minister over alleged petitions sent to the Ministry of Health.

The minister had announced the suspension of Usman on July 8 over petitions alleging corrupt acts by the NHIS boss.

The embattled executive secretary, however said although the NHIS Act empowered the minister to give directive of general nature to the Governing Council of the scheme and could exercise presidential mandate in the absence of the council such powers did not include "discipline, suspension or removal of the Executive Secretary of the Scheme from office".

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

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"In another letter dated May 12, 2017, the Permanent Secretary wrote to the ES directing him to pay the sum of $37,838 in respect to six staff of the ministry to attend a World Health Organisation conference in Geneva, and the NHIS has no budgetary provision for such and this is contrary to an existing government circular from the Office of the SGF that ministers should not pressurise their parastatals to sponsor such requests".

Yusuf pointedly told Adewole 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.

Yusuf was ordered by the Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole on July 7, to proceed on three months suspension to pave way for an investigation following petitions written against him, one of ehich was the procurement of a N58m SUV without due process. "The mere fact that there are pending petitions against a public officer which have yet to be substantiated does not constitute grounds for suspension".

"The NHIS is an agency supervised by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Administrative Panel of Inquiry raised by the Ministry to investigate activities of the agency has commenced its assignment with specific terms of reference", the Ministry of Health spokesperson said.

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

In the three paragraph letter entitled "Suspension from Office" and addressed to Prof Yusuf, Adewole said, "I refer to the series of petitions against you which were forwarded for your comments".

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