By Anthony Ogbonna
The suspended Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf, has said that the governing board of the Scheme has no right to suspend him.
Recall that on Thursday last week, chairman of the governing council, Enyatu Ifenne, had said that Mr. Yusuf was suspended indefinitely to allow a panel set up by the council to investigate allegations of fraud and misconduct against him.
However, Mr. Yusuf shunned the suspension and resumed office yesterday, though not without protest from workers of the scheme.
The NHIS workers , yesterday, barricaded the gate of the headquarters of the scheme only for Yusuf to force his way in with the help of police officers who shot teargas canisters in the air to disperse the protesters.
However, on Tuesday, Yusuf, while speaking with BBC Hausa Service, said the governing board has no right to suspend him especially because he had notified the board that it lacked the constitutional right to suspend him.
According to him, “The governing board has no right to suspend me as the Executive Secretary.
“I notified them in a written document that they lack constitutional rights to suspend or even block me from entering my office.”
On the allegation of fraud against him, Yusuf said they were purely false and are plots to intimidate him.
“From the country I came from, if you say someone is a thief, you have to prove that. But since I came on board, I have being going through unnecessarily accusations of fraud.
“They’re doing that just to intimidate and stop me from doing my good work. They have failed, I will never succumb to their ploy, I think they have to change plan,” Mr Yusuf said.
“I told everyone when I came on board that the public funds in the commission belong to Nigerians, no one should tamper with that money, including myself.
“If I’m corrupt, EFCC and ICPC are currently recovering billions of naira from my whistleblowing in the commission and I have never been indicted by the anti-corruption agencies.
“My ordeal as the Executive Secretary of NHIS may be connected with NHIS agents who think that I stepped on their toes and you know these people are powerful and they are well established in the previous administration.
“Those NHIS agents, I told them to pay back their debts which has already run to billions of naira. After initial investigation, I learnt that so many abnormalities need to be corrected,” he concluded.