Panel tells FG to fire NHIS boss

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NHIS executive secretary Usman Yusuf.

The panel set up by the Federal Government to investigate the crisis in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has recommended immediate dismissal of the Executive Secretary of the agency, Prof Usman Yusuf.

The panel produced a report in which it accused Yusuf of breaching the Public Procurement Act as well as the Public Service Rules.

The seven-man committee headed by Dr Hassan Bukar, a retired permanent secretary, nonetheless, did not recommend Yusuf for prosecution.

The committee added that the NHIS boss, who has been on suspension since November 2018, had an unhealthy relationship with members of staff of the agency; local unions, health management organisations and health care providers.

This, the panel said, would have a negative effect on the health sector if he was allowed to retain his position.

The report read in part, “Relieve the executive secretary of his appointment. Justification: Inability to work in harmony with all the relevant stakeholders in the scheme for the attainment of the scheme’s mandate.

“Established cases of infractions of the Public Service Rules i.e. insubordination and refusal to carry out lawful instructions from superior authorities (governing council and the Federal Ministry of Health) contrary to PSR Rule 030301 (0), unauthorised public utterances contrary to Rule 030421 (id), and relevant service-wide circulars.

“Established cases of infraction of the following provisions of the Public Procurement Act: Sections 16(6) and 32(7).

“Infraction of Rule 3125(i) (a) and (b) of the Financial Regulations;

“Embarrassed government through unguarded social media comments.”

The panel also recommended for immediate removal the 13 senior officers improperly seconded to the NHIS from other government agencies by the suspended NHIS boss.

The committee also recommended the immediate dissolution of the Dr Eyanatu Ifienne-led NHIS governing council for suspending Yusuf when it clearly had no constitutional powers to do so.

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