NHIS reinstatement controversy: Buhari summons health minister, acting executive secretary

Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf [Photo: Concise News]

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, and the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Attahiru Ibrahim, have been summoned to the Presidential Villa.

Ayo Osinlu, Head, Media and Public Relations of NHIS, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.

“We are awaiting the outcome of the meeting,” he said.

The meeting was yet to start as at the time of this report as the Federal Executive Council meeting was ongoing. The council meeting is being presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. The health minister and other ministers are also at the FEC meeting.

The meeting on the NHIS controversy is expected to hold after the FEC meeting.

The meeting between the officials and President Buhari is expected to centre on the controversial reinstatement of the suspended Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Usman Yusuf.

The invitation came a day after President Buhari reinstated Mr. Yusuf as exclusively reported by PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Yusuf was suspended by the Minister of Health, Mr. Adewole, in June 2017, following allegations of gross misconduct.

A panel commissioned by the minister after Mr. Yusuf’s suspension later found him culpable of infractions that ranged from nepotism to theft of public funds.

An administration official familiar with the development told PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday evening that Mr. Buhari did not consider Mr. Yusuf’s indictment by a ministerial panel before asking him to return to work.

The letter authorising the reinstatement of the Mr. Yusuf was signed by Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The letter with subject matter ‘Recall from suspension of Professor Usman Yusuf, dated February 5, with ref no: SH/COS/10/6/A/29 was addressed to Mr. Adewole and delivered to the ministry of health on Tuesday evening.

“The above subject matter referred, kindly note that His Excellency Mr. President has approved the recall of Professor Usman Yusuf from suspension effective immediately”.

The recall of Mr. Yusuf came exactly six months after his suspension. He was initially suspended from office on July 6, by the minister of health after directives from the office of the Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo while in acting capacity as the president.

Mr. Adewole in his letter to Mr. Yusuf, had directed him to step aside and hand over to the most senior officer at the agency so as not to influence outcome of the investigate panel set up to investigate the allegations against him.

Mr. Yusuf had been accused of nepotism, misappropriation of funds, among others.

However, as at Wednesday, Mr. Yusuf was yet to resume office.

“NHIS Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf is yet to resume office after his reinstatement by the Federal Government on Tuesday, February 6,” the NHIS spokesperson said.


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