The House of Representatives has resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to investigate the cycle of crisis over the suspension of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf.
The decision emanated from a motion under matter of urgent importance sponsored by Mr. Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa) during plenary on Tuesday.
Recall that on October the 18th, the Governing Council of the NHIS announced the suspension of Prof. Yusuf over allegations of fraud and severe infractions, including but not limited to public procurement infringement, unlawful staff posting, willful defiance of Council directives, violation of Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy and superfluous arrogation of projects.
The suspended official however showed up for work and caused a team of police escorts to break a resistance put by workers against his resumption.
Speaking on the motion, Mr. Douye revealed that the pandemonium is coming barely five months after the NHIS Executive Secretary was controversially reinstated by President Muhammadu Buhari from an indefinite suspension slammed on him by his supervising Ministry of Health, in July 2017 over similar matters of alleged gross misconduct, corruption and nepotism.
According to him, the suspended Executive Secretary disputed the authority of the Council to suspend him and on Monday 22nd October violently broke into the Abuja Head Office of the Scheme, aided by almost 50 heavily armed police, overpowered the security men as well as staff at the premises, including women who were indiscriminately teargassed and manhandled.
“This very critical sector, on which the hope of our universal health delivery is hinged, far from being a theater of health has degenerated into a theater of war, with so many scandals in recent times”, he said.
Lawmakers in their contributions to the debate, condemned the crisis.
For Mr. Tobi Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), “this government claims to come and fight corruption but it is so sad that this impunity is happening”.
On the contrary, Mr. Edward Pwajok (APC, Plateau) said since the motion is investigative, there should not be need to debate it.
However, the motion went in favour of the majority when put to voice vote by the presiding officer, Speaker Yakubu Dogara.