Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Protest trails NHIS boss reinstatement

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Scores of employees of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, under the aegis of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria and the Joint Health Sector Union on Thursday paralysed activities at the NHIS headquarters. 

The protesters whore are demanded the removal of the recently reinstated Executive Secretary, Usman Yusuf, began about 40 minutes after Mr Yusuf resumed at the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.

The unionists who sang protest songs said the reinstatement of Yusuf would thwart his investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The protesters, who described the reinstatement saga as ‘Yusufgate’, said it was a mockery of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.

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Addressing journalists on the premises of the agency, the Chairman of the NHIS arm of the union, Razaq Omomeji, said the protests would continue until President Buhari reverse Mr Yusuf’s reinstatement.

Mr Omomeji said Yusuf had bastardised the scheme and his return would only worsen affairs at the agency.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhar reportedly reinstated Mr Yusuf on the basis that that 20 of the 23 allegations levelled against him were not backed with evidence, while others appeared concocted because of evident alterations and mix-ups in dates.

Mr Usman was suspended by the minister of health on the strength of a petition by the United Youth Alliance Against Corruption (UYAC) and Association of Senior Civil Servants.

The minister, relying on the petition, constituted a 17-man committee under the headship of the permanent secretary of the ministry to look into the petition by this body of civil servants.

Out of the 17 members of the committee, 16 of them were staff of the ministry while one member was from the Department of State Services (DSS).

The request for a nomination from the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) was declined because they feared a conflict of interest.

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From the composition of the committee, it was obvious that the committee was neither independent nor free from biases.

Some of the allegations brought against the executive secretary by the UYAC could not be substantiated in 20 of the 23 allegations as no evidence was brought forward.

Others were obviously concocted as there were evident alterations and mix-ups in dates on some of the petitions.

In his bid to strengthen the weaknesses identified in the execution of the insurance scheme and in the procurement processes, Prof Usman got competent staff seconded to him from relevant organisations in the short run while a comprehensive long term staff replacement was being worked on.

These efforts eventually were thwarted and the officers thereby de-seconded in deference to public service bureaucratic norms as advised by the Federal Ministry of Labour.

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