Saturday, January 22, 2022

Protest as NHIS boss defies suspension, resumes office

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Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The suspended Executive secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Professor Yusuf Usman this Monday morning resumed office days after the governing council asked him to step aside momentarily.

Surprisingly, armed policemen escorted him into and fired teargas canisters at workers of NHIS who are currently protesting against his resumption of office.

Yusuf was, last week, suspended by the scheme’s governing board for allegedly inflating the scheme’s 2018 budget.

In a press briefing last week, the board said it suspended Yusuf for “fraudulently inflating the cost of biometric capturing machines attempting to “illegally execute N30 billion in federal government bonds….superfluous arrogation of project vehicles” among others.

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It had also accused Mr Yusuf of embarking on travels “in defiance to council directive.”

However, Yusuf had, last week, rejected his suspension by the board and had said that he would resume his normal duties today.

But the workers, who come out earlier today, had blocked the entrance of the office in Abuja to prevent Mr Yusuf from gaining access into the premises.

However, Mr Yusuf was able to gain entrance into the NHIS headquarters with the aid of some men of the police force who shot teargas canisters to disperse the protesting workers.

Soon afterwards, heavy security personnel took over the premises, with some seen at the gate. Moreover, while the drama went on, some staff members loyal to the executive secretary succeeded in breaking the keys to the gate, thereby gaining access.

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The protest was ongoing as at the time of filing this report.

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