Coalition begs NASS not to interfere with NHIS boss investigation


In a bid to move Nigeria forward, the Coalition of Civil Society against Corruption has urged the National Assembly (NASS), particularly the House of Representatives, not to be involved in the allegations of corruption against the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) helmsman.
The group made the call at a news conference on Thursday in Lagos on the suspension of the Chief Executive Officer of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf.
It was reported that the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, had on July 7, directed Yusuf to proceed on three months suspension.
The suspension which is to allow for an uninterrupted investigation was with immediate effect.
The minister also directed the setting up of an investigative committee to look into the allegations in accordance with the Public Service Rules.
Mr Raji Oyewunmi, Leader of the group said: “We are disturbed by the torrents of unfolding events and mind-blowing revelations of corrupt practices in all key sectors of our national life.
“We are undoubtedly optimistic that if this ongoing drive against corruption is sustained, our country will no longer be a safe haven for looters.
“The present administration is dedicated to eradicating corruption from our country and as such, people that work with this administration should be part of this vision.
“Everybody should know their limitations and work according to such limitations; you cannot be a lawmaker and be an executive at the same time.’’
He noted that the suspension of Yusuf could be similar to the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir Lawal.
“Babachir’s suspension was carved out of the need to pave way for an uninterrupted and unhindered investigative panel."
“We therefore, admonish the suspended NHIS helmsman to tow the path of honour by submitting himself to the administrative investigative panel which has the backing of the Federal Government and relevant government agencies."
“We also call on the EFCC to get involved in the NHIS financial scam and subject all culprits, after investigation processes are concluded, to the dictates of our laws for adequate punishment.?"
“Nobody should be seen to be above the law of the land irrespective of political affiliation, religious and tribal inclination,’’ he said.
The group called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to comb other agencies of the government and ignite the passion for constructive restructuring and reviewing of the NHIS.
“This is especially as just about two per cent of our people are enrolled, compared to 75 per cent obtained in U.S.
“The Federal Government needs to see this as a matter of national importance to reassure Nigerians of it its aim to provide easy access to healthcare at an affordable cost through an effective prepayment system."
“Government also needs to review the processes of engagement and Conditions of Service of all the HMOs in Nigeria to achieve progress in the Managed Healthcare System (MHS) Act,’’ Oyewunmi said.
Also, Mr Declan Ihekaire, Chair, Activists for Good Governance, a member of the coalition, urged public servants to be honourable.
He also advised the National Assembly not be agents of intimidation.
“The NHIS boss, Yusuf, has been suspended to face a particular panel investigating some allegations levelled against him."
“Rather than going to answer the questions against him, he has gone to the NASS to seek refuge."
“Our NASS should not be seen as gradually becoming agents of intimidation against offices and officers that whistle-blow against certain individuals."
“Yusuf has been suspended and the NASS is saying that he should be reinstated without finding out what has transpired."
“We are saying no to that; we are saying that whoever is accused or alleged of anything, once you are a public officer, you should on your own, without force, submit yourself to investigation."

“When you are cleared, you are cleared, but what we find is that hardly does anyone of them step down, it is wrong,’’ he said.
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