NHIS: Why is Osinbajo involved in the matter?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

There is a situation with the administration of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which is brewing into a clash of powers that could stink.

Per media reports, the Executive Secretary, Prof Usman Yusuf, has been directed to proceed on a three month suspension. This was communicated to him in a letter from the Honourable Minister for Health, Prof Isaac Adewole who justified the directive based on petitions received against the Secretary on allegations of corruption.

Acting President, Prof Osinbajo, has subsequently called on the Ministry to launch an investigation into the allegations leveled against Yusuf, as communicated in a letter dated July 10, 2017 by the chief of staff to the acting President, Ade Ipaye.

According to Ipaye, “His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Acting President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, is in receipt of the referred two petitions, in which allegations of fraud and abuse of office were leveled against the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Professor Yusuf Usman; and has directed that the petitions be forwarded to you for inquiry and necessary action.

“Please accept the assurances of His Excellency, the Acting President’s consideration and best wishes.”

Being an agency under the authority of the Presidency, the Acting President apparently is exercising the privilege of the President according to the NHIS Act, which Prof Yusuf has quoted in his statement of defiance of the Minister’s suspension.

Following the anti-corruption campaign of the Buhari Government, Osinbajo is supposedly acting swiftly to pass the notion that the administration has not given up hopes of doing all that is necessary to root out corruption in the public service, despite previous stumbles in persecuting other cases.

The Acting President has still not acted on the cases involving suspended Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal and suspended NIA director, Ambassador Ayo Oke.

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