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Controversy: Nigerian lawmakers ask Health Minister to recall suspended NHIS boss

Crime & Corruption

Controversy: Nigerian lawmakers ask Health Minister to recall suspended NHIS boss

Controversy: Nigerian lawmakers ask Health Minister to recall suspended NHIS boss

NEWISSUES, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, to within a week reinstate the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf.

It also asked the minister to halt the re-accreditation of Health Maintenance Organisations, HMOs, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation of the scheme by the House.

The directives followed a motion by the chairman of the House Committee on Health Services, Chike Okafor.

The health minister had suspended Mr. Yusuf over corruption allegations, one of which was the procurement of a N58 million SUV without due process.

PREMIUM TIMES broke the news of Mr. Yusuf’s suspension and his initial reaction to it.

The health minster later explained the reasons for the three months suspension, saying it was to allow investigations into the allegations.

Mr. Yusuf, 54, took over the state-run health insurance provider on July 29, 2016.

But his reign has been fraught with allegations of fraud.

The suspension came weeks after the Senate launched investigations into his activities as the NHIS chief.

The lawmakers accused Mr. Yusuf of “corrupt expenditure of N292 million” which he allegedly spent on health care training “without recourse to any appropriate approving authority.”

The NHIS chief has denied any wrongdoing.

His suspension also comes in the middle of an investigation by the House Committee on Health Services on the implementation of the NHIS.

Mr. Yusuf had at the public hearing in the course of the investigation blamed the HMOs for the failure of the NHIS to deliver services.

He attributed the alleged corruption by the HMOs to fraud in the fuel subsidy scheme, stressing that enrolee figures were being padded.

The House in a unanimous decision on Wednesday resolved to invite the Minister of Health to explain the reasons for the suspension and also directed him to recall Mr. Yusuf.

Despite the House resolution, the ministry is not expected to recall the suspended official as such resolutions are not binding on the Executive and its ministries. Many of such resolutions have been ignored in the past.

A spokesperson to the health ministry, Boade Akinola, said the ministry had not been informed of the resolution.

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