20181021

"Only Buhari Can Fire Me" - Suspended NHIS Boss Insists

The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, who was suspended indefinitely by the governing council of the NHIS board on Thursday, resumed work the following day, ignoring the resolution of the council.

Yusuf, who was reinstated by President Buhari after his first suspension, resumed at the head office of the agency in Abuja around 10am to the surprise of members of staff.

In a memo with reference number NHIS/ES/091/1/192, signed by Yusuf and addressed to the chairman of the council, Dr Enyantu Ifenne, the Executive Secretary said only President Muhammadu Buhari could suspend him.

Citing sections 6, 7 and 8 of the NHIS Act, Yusuf said the council only had the powers to manage the scheme and other related activities, adding that he had not even been informed of the petitions written against him.

The memo read in part, “As you are aware, by virtue of Section 8 of the NHIS Act, my appointment, like yours, is at the instance of the President, while the council’s power of appointment is limited to directors and other employees of the scheme.

“It is, therefore, ultra vires for the council to suspend or purport to suspend me from office to the extent that the said suspension is the prerogative of Mr Area of SMF.”

In her reaction, the chairman of the NHIS board acknowledged receipt of the memo on Friday.

Chairman of the NHIS board, Dr Enyantu Ifenne, however, expressed shock over Yusuf’s decision to defy the council.

She said, “Let those who hide under the cover of the Presidency to protect corruption know that Nigerians are keenly watching. I am convinced that if President Buhari is fully briefed about a tenth of Yusuf’s atrocities, he will throw him out.”

At a briefing in Abuja on Thursday, Ifenne had accused Yusuf of insubordination, fraud, arbitrariness and other corrupt practices.