The House of Representatives on Wednesday kicked against the suspension of the Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Professor Usman Yusuf by the Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole.
The House equally resolved to invite the Health Minister to show reason why he should not be cited for contempt of the House over the suspension of the NHIS boss.
To this end, the House requested the minister to recall the suspended NHIS boss and allow him to continue with his sanitisation programme in the agency.
The House further asked the health minister and the acting Executive Secretary to stop henceforth every process of Health Maintainance Organisations, HMOs reaccreditation pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation mandated by the House.
The House however alleged that suspension of the NHIS boss was a ploy “to intimidate him, punish him for testifying before the House and to silence him from further testifying before the House of Representatives in its constitutional duties of investigation of issues of corruption, inefficiency and waste in governance.”
The House resolution followed a motion sponsored by Honourable Chike Okafor entitled, “need for immediate protection of witnesses who testify before House committees: the case of suspension of Executive Secretary of NHIS.”
Professor Yusuf, it will be recalled was reportedly suspended by the Health Minister for three month over alleged infractions.
The lawmaker while moving the motion alleged that Professor Yusuf was suspended over his refusal to honour certain requests from the minister.
According to the lawmaker, ” the minister wrote to the Executive Secretary through the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Binta Adamu Bello, ref No: DFA/CORR/001, dated March 28, 2017 directing the ES to pay the sum of N197,072,500 for rehabilitation works in some Federal Medical Centres contract awarded by the ministry in 2016 and directed him to pay the money to the ministry’s account number:0020155061015 in the CBN, when there is no budgetary provisions for this payment in the NHIS 2016 budget. The ES inquired from the CMDs as to whether there were such projects being executed, they all confirmed to the contrary.
“In another letter dated 12 May, 2017, the Permanent Secretary wrote to the ES directing him to pay the sum of $37,838 in respect of 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 pressurize their parastatals to sponsor such requests. The fund in possession of NHIS is a contributory fund by Nigerian workers. The fund should not be used as directed”, he stated.
The motion scaled through via voice vote from the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.