Why Stakeholders Are Against NHIS Boss




The allegation of corruption made by the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, against some erstwhile high ranking officials of the organisation, unnamed Health Management Organisations (HMOs) and other stakeholders is the main reason why he has come under ceaseless attacks.
The Chairman, NHIS branch of the Association of Senior Staff of Nigeria (ASSN), Mr Owen Udouwem, disclosed this to LEADERSHIP Friday yesterday.
According to him, this group of people do not see anything positive in the efforts being made by Prof. Yusuf to sanitise the NHIS, which has been suffering from years of careless management, insensitivity in the handling of patients across the country and self-serving activities of a few to the detriment of millions of Nigerians.
He listed the said wrongdoings of the HMOs to include their refusal to remit capitation fees to facilities and the listing of 250 million fake enrollees. This is in spite of the fact that N119 billion was voted for the office of the former executive secretary.
Udouwem, who is the factional leader of ASSN, said, “I thank God for President Buhari bringing in Prof Usman, who has really stood his ground to sanitise the scheme. It takes a man with a clean hand to do this.
“Remember that when you fight corruption the spirit behind it will fight back. That is why we are seeing all these disagreements from the union by those who are being sponsored by the HMOs and, unfortunately, pushed by a senior director in the federal ministry of health, who got angry because Prof. (Yusuf) posted his brother to Yobe State on official capacity. He has since then vowed to embarrass the executive secretary”, Owen alleged.
Stating that the level of corruption under the two previous administrations preceding that of the incumbent was very disturbing, he said, “The last two administrations under Femi Thomas and Femi Akingbade were highly corrupt, to the extent that in 2013, a graduate of 2008 was placed on grade level 14. Some were even placed on level 15.
“Even the union could not fight that then because some of the members were compromised. Some were sent on foreign training, some were given contracts, while others were given slots for employments”.
Admonishing the staff of the NHIS “to stand up against corruption and also resist any attempt to be influenced to fight the scheme”, Owen appealed to the federal government to call the director sabotaging Prof. Yusuf “to order”, stressing that “enough is enough; let them stop playing politics with NHIS”.
He also called on the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to allow the NHIS branch of the ASSN to settle its internal problems as the warring factions were already in court.
He narrated that the litigation predated the election of the executives of the ASSN, pointing out that “then, there was a court injunction stopping the elections from holding, but the TUC leadership ignored that and went ahead with the elections.
“But we are still in court to press home our demands and believe you me the election was illegal just as the executives are illegal. But I am surprised if the parties having issues with the executive secretary do not respect the rule of law. This makes the judiciary powerless,” he said, emphasizing that the factions existing in the ASSN branch of the NHIS were created by the national executive body of the TUC.
Udouwem continued: “We have reached out to the TUC on several occasions but they have bluntly refused to act because they have a secret agenda. I even gave the TUC chairman all the court papers and expected him to call us for settlement and dialogue. But he has refused. Instead, he threatened to deal with me through the ministry.
“Even the ministry is not helping matters. The so-called director has even advised the union to go on strike action. But we will resist them. We need to fight corruption with the last drop of our blood,” he concluded.

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