Nigeria’s Presidency has reacted to the NHIS crisis and the purported suspension of its Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf.
Recall that we reported that after Prof. Usman Yusuf insisted on resuming work on Monday even after his suspension, there was a protest which led to firing of tear gas by the police escorts the NHIS Secretary came with.
Garba Shehu who spoke on behalf of the Presidency after he featured on Channels TV Sunrise Daily in Abuja, said Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, and the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, had intervened in the NHIS crisis with a view to finding lasting solutions.
According the President Buhari’s aide, the NHIS crisis had been ethnicised and politicised by some interest groups within and outside the agency.
“Did the board follow due process in suspending this gentleman? There are opinions that said `no they haven’t’.
“Again we all have to do the right thing all of 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.
“I’ll tell you one thing, as we speak now, you know that no matter whatever mistakes this gentleman may have made, and that is to be proven because I don’t have the records to say yes or no, he has launched a major reform in that institution which had blocked access to public resources.
“Money from the NHIS is not money belonging to government, is money taken from your salary, from my salary.
“If we have been enlisted, we are supposed to get treatments when we fall ill then you should ask the question in 13 years of the NHIS how many Nigerians have received the treatments.
“Yet you have HMOs, these vendors, taking N5 billion every month, money that is just being shared and somebody came and said, `look, this can’t go on’ and with strong support from this administration the N5 billion has been reduced to N1.3 billion.
“And even at then, the administration is not satisfied. We want to see healthcare delivered to the citizens of this country. So there is a lot of work to do,’’ he said.
Garba Shehu who also maintained that the two chambers of the National Assembly had previously cleared the Executive Secretary of the allegations against him, also dismissed the accusation of `double standard’ by the Buhari administration while dealing with cases of corruption being levelled against public servants or political office holders in the country.
He further added that it was it was wrong to compare the case of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, and that of the NHIS scribe.