Reps wade into NHIS crisis, presidency urges due process


• NMA ex-boss seeks emergency declaration on agency
The House of Representatives has waded into the face-off between the Dr. Enyantu Ifene-led Governing Council of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and its Executive Secretary, Professor Usman Yusuf. Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Diri Douye (PDP: Bayelsa) under matters of urgent national importance at the plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the lawmakers resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to probe the cycle of crises plaguing this critical agency of government.
The proposed panel is to turn in its report within four weeks.The motion’s sponsor regretted that the NHIS had degenerated into a theatre of wars, alluding to the 50-policeman escort that saw to Yusuf’s resumption of office on Monday amid his subsisting suspension by the board.
The embattled NHIS boss is being sanctioned over alleged breach of the Public Procurement Act, unlawful postings, willful defiance of directives as well as violation of the treasury single account (TSA) policy and superfluous award of projects barely five months after he was reinstated by President Muhammdu Buhari. He was earlier suspended by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, for alleged infractions.
However, Edward Pwajok (Plateau: APC) argued that the governing council lacked the power to suspend Yusuf, noting that only the president could axe him in accordance with the NHIS Act.Besides, the presidency has urged due process in the matter.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, and Adewole had intervened in the matter with a view to finding lasting solutions.He regretted that the NHIS crisis had been “ethnicised and politicised by some interest groups within and outside the agency.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted the presidential aide as querying: “Did the board follow due process in suspending this gentleman? There are opinions that said they haven’t.“Again we all have to do the right thing all the times. I don’t deny the fact that there is a lot of work to do – (the crisis) is complicated by the fact that the whole thing about the NHIS has been ethnicised and politicised.
“Even a political party was issuing a statement on matters that are unknown to it.”Also yesterday, a former president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and sitting vice president of the Commonwealth Medical Association (CWMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, called for a declaration of a state of emergency on the scheme.
In a statement, he bemoaned the “abysmal level of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, put at two to three per cent, attained more than 19 years after the establishment of the NHIS.”In his keynote address at the 2018 Physicians’ Week organised the Abia NMA in Umuahia, he noted that the project was aimed at ensuring that all Nigerians have access to quality and appropriate health care services all times.


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