Critical Times News : Tension as police escorts suspended NHIS ES to office, teargas workers

Published by / 22 Oct 2018 / No comments / ,

Tension as police escorts suspended NHIS ES to office, teargas workers

Officers of the Nigeria police force clashed with workers at the head office of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Abuja on Monday.

The policemen who escorted Usman Yusuf, NHIS executive secretary who was suspended last week, into his office, fired teargas at workers.

Yusuf had kicked against his suspension by the NHIS governing board, saying he would resume work on Monday.

But the NHIS workers threatened to lock him out of office. As early as 7am on Monday, the workers locked the entrance gate, amid heavy security presence.

When Yusuf arrived at 8:30am, he gained entry into the premises with the aid of the policemen. The workers tried to stop him but they were overpowered by security personnel.

There is still tension within the office area in Utako as a protest by the workers was still on as of the time this report was filed.

At a press conference last week, Enantu Ifenna, chairman of the governing board, had accused the ES of allegedly inflating the scheme’s 2018 budget, “fraudulently inflating the cost of biometric capturing machines”, and “attempt to illegally execute N30 billion in federal government bonds”.

The board also alleged that Yusuf carried out unauthorised staff travel “in defiance to council directive”, “superfluous arrogation of project vehicles”.

Insiders had told TheCable that since his appointment on July 29, 2016, Yusuf had violated procurement laws and dished out contracts to cronies.

Yusuf was first suspended by Isaac Adewole, minister of health, last year but was reinstated in February following the intervention of the house of representatives.

When he resumed, Yusuf vowed to fight back, accusing some hospitals and insurance companies of ganging up against him for opposing some sharp practices.

But the governing council levelled corruption allegations against him six months after he was reinstated.

In a letter addressed to Adewole and obtained by TheCable, the council raised an alarm that unless an urgent intervention is done, the risk of the pending collapse “will have catastrophic consequence for the Buhari change mandate.”
Yusuf had argued that his suspension was illegal and that the governing board lacked power to suspend him.

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