The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, unperturbed by the refusal of the former NHIS boss, Prof Usman Yusuf, to proceed on his suspension, has moved on to approve the suspension of eight additional top officials of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to pave way for a thorough investigation of petitions.
Boade Akinola, Director, Media and Public Relations of the ministry made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
The minister had earlier suspended the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, for three months.
According to Adewole, the suspension is in furtherance of the desire of government to have an uninterrupted and robust investigation of all petitions at the NHIS.
He named the affected officials as Mr Olufemi Akingbade, General Manger, Zonal Coordinator, South-South zone, Mr John Okon, General Manger, Finance Account.
Others are Mr Yusuf Fatik, General Manger, Human Resources and Administration, Mr Shehu Adamu, Assistant General Manager, Audit, Mr Vincent Mamdam, Assistant General Manager, Head Insurance, Mr Safiyanu Attah, Senior Assistant Officer, Marketing, Mr Owen Udo Udoma, Senior Manager, Contribution Management and Mr Innocent Abbah, Senior Assistant Officer, Planning Research and Monitoring,” he said.
Akinola quoted the minister as urging the committee to remain focused, fair and transparent in the discharge of this national task despite the sensation the development had generated.
The Acting Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr Attahiru Ibrahim, has also been directed to ensure the immediate implementation of the suspension order.
The ministry had earlier suspended the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf for three months, but he insists on holding tight to the position.
The vindictive position of the suspended NHIS Boss seems to be heating the polity, with many Nigerians surprised at the audacity of Prof Usman Yusuf.
Political parties are beginning to join in the conversation and the National Conscience Party (NCP) calling for the immediate arrest of Prof Yusuf.
Their position was made clear in a statement released by the Deputy National Chairman of the party, Waheed Lawal.
Waheed said that it was wrong for the suspended NHIS boss to challenge a constituted authority and to still be parading himself as the Executive Secretary of the insurance body.
“My strong belief in the Nigeria’s democratic process enables me to speak against tyranny, wanton disregard for established authority and unrepentant rigidity for corrupt tendencies.
“This is especially as the voice of the poor citizens of our country as regards the manipulative tactics at the NHIS office has been persistent.
Mr Waheed, in the statement, encouraged Acting President Prof Osinbajo to act swiftly in order to convince Nigerians about the sincerity of purpose of the Muhammadu Buhari administration on the anti – corruption crusade. He took a swipe at the Federal House of Representatives for running double standard system;
“The suspension of the NHIS executive secretary is following a precedence which remains one of the best approaches to fight the scourge of corruption.
“We, and even the green chamber all applauded the suspension of the secretary to the government of the federation, Babachir David Lawal.
“As such, why are the lawmakers pushing for the recall of Yusuf who should by now be answering questions from the constituted investigative panel on over 72 petitions received so far, bothering on financial impropriety, gross misconduct and flagrant disregard for the civil service rules and the procurement act