House Asks Health Minister to Recall Suspended Executive Secretary of NHIS

Gwen Vasquez
July 16, 2017 gathered that Isaac asked Yusuf to go for the suspension last week because of corruption allegations.

He further argued that the minister's directive is not in compliance with the Public Service Rules as no prima facie case had been established against him in respect of the petitions referred to in the suspension letter. Isaac Adewole, was on Wednesday, summoned by the members of Federal House of Representatives over his decision to suspend the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof.

Consequently, the House, which vehemently condemned his suspension at plenary, said he was being witch-hunted with intent to punish him administratively for speaking out.

Acting President, Prof Osinbajo, has subsequently called on the Ministry to launch an investigation into the allegations leveled against Yusuf, as communicated in a letter dated July 10, 2017 by the chief of staff to the acting President, Ade Ipaye.

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 claimed that by virtue of sections 4 and 8 of the NHIS Act, the approval and removal of the head of the NHIS was the sole prerogative of the president.

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"Request the minister to recall ES of NHIS, Prof Usman Yusuf, from suspension forthwith and allow him to continue with his sanitisation programme in the agency". The mere fact that there are pending petitions against a public officer which is yet to be substantiated does not constitute a ground for suspension under the Public Service Rules.

Responding to his letter however, the Ministry of Health, in a press statement issued in Abuja on Friday, dissociated itself from Yusuf, saying, as a public officer, he was bound by the regulations governing the Public Service.

A spokesperson to the health ministry, Boade Akinola, however said the ministry was not yet in receipt of the house resolution.

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.

He said the minister's action tended to make people uncomfortable to give evidence at House public hearings, adding that the suspension would also jeopardise the outcome of ongoing probe of the scheme.

The lawmakers said the allegation that Yusuf committed a series of misdeeds in office were beyond the ministry's duties of probing into alleged corruption, inefficiency and wastage in the scheme's governance. The fund in possession of NHIS is a Contributory Fund by Nigerian workers.

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