The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria has called for the immediate suspension of Prof. Usman Yusuf, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme by the Federal Government over allegations of gross misconduct.
Isaac Ojemhenke, Head of Abuja Secretariat of the association, made the appeal while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
Ojemhenke noted that since the recall of the NHIS scribe on Feb. 6 he had embarked on activities capable of jeopardising industrial peace and harmony in the scheme.
This, he said, had caused division among members of staff along ethnic, tribal and religious lines.
Ojemhenke said that the aborted illegal secondment done by Yusuf, in November 2016 revealed that he brought his nephew, Hassan Kabir Yar’Adua, and posted him to Procurement Department.
He alleged that the appointment was to pave way for a possible arbitrary evaluation and consideration of his father’s company, Lubekh Nigeria Limited, for consultancy in NHIS at a contract sum of N46,798,512.
He said: “Prof. Yusuf engaged in corrupt nepotism in November 2016 by fraudulently awarding contract to Lubekh Nigeria Limited for training of NHIS staff on capacity building at N17,500,000 in Benin, Edo.
“This is gross abuse of office, official trust and evident violation of Section 57(12) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
“On March 5, Yusuf also engaged in a clandestine attempt to move the sum of N25 billion of enrollees fund for investment before the inauguration of the NHIS governing council, but failed.
“He further moved to get an approval for a dubious investment of another N30,000,000,000, without strict compliance to due process as directed by the governing council.
“The council having discovered such gross misconduct by the Executive Secretary, issued him a query, which up to date he has refused to answer.’’
Besides, the union leader alleged that Yusuf diverted some NHIS property under the guise of setting up `Home Office’ before his suspension in August 2016, which was strange to public service rules and abuse of office.
He added that on Yusuf’s recall from suspension, ‘the scribe paid himself N3.6 million allegedly used by him to fuel seven vehicles attached to himself and as reimbursement for purchase of newspapers when he was on suspension.
Ojemhenke further alleged that the NHIS boss refused to refund the sum of N4.3 million which he advanced to himself for a trip to Netherlands, which the Minister of Health never approved in 2017.
He said: “The scheme has also been directed to recover the sum of N14,158, 000 paid to Yusuf and four others for the Netherlands trip and on resumption of office chose to disregard the directives.
“An allocation of seven official vehicles to himself and payment of monthly allowance of N500,000 for fuelling with seven policemen attached to him with monthly expense of N565,000.
“All attempts by the council to make him tow the line of financial discipline and prudency in the face of dwindling resources of the scheme has been resisted by Yusuf.
“The Association is demanding that the government should do the needful as regards the case of Prof. Yusuf, he needs to be asked to step down to serve as a deterrent to others.’’
Ojemhenke added that such action was necessary in respect of the anti-corruption war of the present administration.
Reacting to the allegations on phone, Yusuf dismissed them as spurious, laughable and unserious.
The executive secretary told the News Agency of Nigeria that the workers were merely kicking against a minor redeployment he effected last week.
According to him, the transfers were intended to rejig the scheme and not as a punitive measure.
He said: “How can an individual perpetrate all these 12 allegations running into several billions of naira within a short span of time without insiders’ knowledge or collaboration?’’
He challenged the workers to substantiate their allegations and advised all those fighting against the ongoing positive changes to have a rethink in the interest of enrollees and the country.
Yusuf declined further comments, saying “I am yet to see a copy of their press conference’’.
NAN recalls that Yusuf was earlier suspended from office by the Minister of Health, Prof. Adewole Isaac, over allegations of maladministration and insubordination.
But Yusuf dismissed the allegations, explaining that it is corruption that is fighting back.
According to him, serious are measures needed to weed the scheme of fraud for effective and efficient service delivery.
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BREAKING: Nigerian footballer contracts coronavirus
A Nigerian footballer, King Paul Akpan Udoh, who is an Italian-Nigerian player, has become the first footballer to be infected with the coronavirus.
The Witness reports that King Paul who currently plies his trade with Pianese, an Italian Serie C side, was diagnosed with the disease on February 27, and he has been quarantined.
The 22-year-old Pianese forward started his career with Reggiana before moving to Juventus in 2011 where he was loaned back for a year. After progressing through the youth ranks of Juventus, the Nigerian footballer secured a loan move to Virtus Lanciano, a Serie B side in 2016 with an option to buy at the end of the season.
However, after failing to impress, Udoh was returned to Juventus and then loaned to Lega Pro side Pontedera later the same year. He had a loan stint with Pontedera, Fernana, Fano and Viareggio before joining Pianese on July 14, 2019.
The deadly coronavirus has spread from China to countries in Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa with Italy being the country in Europe with the highest number of reported cases.
This online news platform understands that some Italian Serie A matches were postponed last weekend as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.
On Friday, the Lagos state government and the federal ministry of health confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Nigeria. The index patient is an Italian who arrived in the country on Tuesday, February 25.
Nigerian Footballer Contracts Coronavirus
Dr Osagie Ehanire, the minister of health, confirmed the case in a statement issued in the early hours of Friday, February 28, 2020, saying that the case involves an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and just returned from Milan, Italy on the 25th of February 2020.
This online news platform understands that the statement said the Italian was confirmed to be positive by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The ministry said in a statement that: “The case, which was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the outbreak in China in January 2020.
“The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on the 25th of February from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit. He fell ill on the 26th February and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
“The Government of Lagos State under the Governor as the COVID-19 Incident Commander, through the Lagos State Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure that any outbreak in Lagos is controlled and contained quickly in collaboration with the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group, led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). We have immediately activated the State Emergency Operations Centre to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.
“I wish to assure all Lagosians and Nigerians that we have been strengthening our preparedness since the first confirmation of cases in China. We will use all the resources made available by the State and the Federal Government to respond to this case.
“We are working to identify all the contacts of the patient since he arrived in Nigeria. Please, be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only a mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses,” the statement read in part.
Nigerian senate slams FG over Coronavirus
Ahmad Lawan, the President of the Nigerian Senate, on Thursday, accused the Federal Ministry of Health of not putting serious measures in place to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria.
He, however, asked the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care to liaise with the ministry to intensify screening of passengers at the nation’s airports and seaports.
Lawan stated this following a point of order by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice.
Boroffice drew the attention of the Senate to the failure of health personnel at the airports and seaports to screen passengers coming into the country.
Recall, an Italian citizen who traveled to Lagos, Nigeria’s economic nerve center, is the first confirmed case of coronavirus in sub Saharan Africa, according to the country’s Health Ministry.
The senator said the coronavirus screening at the South African airport usually takes up to 30 minutes before passengers would be allowed to disembark the aircraft.
He said the situation was different on his arrival at the Nigerian airport, when the health officials at the nation’s airports merely issued a form to passengers to indicate if they were sick or not.
He said, “There is no form of any screening of passengers for coronavirus by Nigerian officials at the airport.
“It’s worrisome, situations where travelers coming into the country were not dully screened for the dreaded virus based on his experience at the airport.”`
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