NHIS Controversy: Workers protest as reinstated Executive Secretary resumes

Newly reinstated Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, Mr Yusuf Usman, on Thursday resumed work as workers under the scheme staged a protest at the premises of the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.

The workers under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria and Joint Health Sector Union during the protodemanded that Yusuf’s reinstatement be reversed while investigations on allegations levelled against him continue.

According to the workers, the reinstatement of Yusuf would impede his investigation by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The protest began shortly after Yusuf resumed at the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.

“He has resumed work but has not held any management meeting,” Mr Ayo Osinlu, Head, Media and Public Relations of NHIS said.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday reinstated Yusuf exactly six months after he was suspended by Minister of Health, Mr Isaac Adewole, following allegations of gross misconduct.

Yusuf, 54, took over the state-run health insurance provider on July 29, 2016.

But his reign at the agency has been fraught with graft controversies.

Some staff described Yusuf’s leadership as causing disaffection and low morale in the system.

Chairman, association of senior civil servant NHIS chapter, Mr Razaq Omomeji accused Yusuf of bringing someone born in 1984 to become an assistant director in the scheme.

Omomeji said Yusuf, a professor has poor knowledge on the management of the scheme.

Mr Olawuyi Kayode, Chairman Medical and Health Association Union, also accused Yusuf of using divide and rule system to transfer staff indiscriminately.

“We believe that this government came to fight corruption. We also believe that whoever must come to equity must come with clean hands. Yusuf’s reinstatement behoves much to be desired. Presently he is being investigated by EFCC and ICPC, so we are appealing to Mr Buhari to wait for the report of this investigation to be concluded before any further action,” Kayode said.

“If the man is giving a clean slate then he can return but as is it now, all his activities for the past one year has been that of ethnicity, tribalism, religiosity and nepotism. Imaging him transferring over 40 per cent of the staff outside Abuja and replacing them with 300 NYSC members. It leaves much to be desired, so we are appealing to this government as a union of NHIS to reverse this recall while investigation with EFCC and ICPC continues,” he added.

There has been a rash of reactions from Nigerians since the news of Yusuf’s reinstatement broke.

On Wednesday, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, explained that Yusuf’s recall would not stop any corruption investigation by anti-graft agencies.


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