President Muhammadu Buhari has a few hours ago, ordered an independent fact-finding panel to investigate the alleged infractions by the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Professor Usman Yusuf and report back within two weeks.
This is coming just a day after the NHIS Boss was sent on a compulsory leave and Mr. Ben Omogo, a Director of Administration in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation deployed to oversee the affairs of the NHIS.
According to the statement released by the Federal Government, the suspension of the NHIS Boss is to allow for a free and unbiased investigation into the whole saga.
The statement released a few hours ago reads:
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION
The Federal Government has found it necessary to restate that the objective for establishing Parastatals is in fulfillment of the need to deliver services to Nigerians faster and better.
It has also considered it necessary to restate that the roles of Governing Boards/Councils, are as prescribed by the statutes, guidelines and extant circulars and that the position of Chief Executives of Parastatals is to ensure that policies of Government as enunciated by Boards and Councils are implemented in accordance with their mandate.
It has however observed with deep concern the growing tension between Boards and Chief Executives and their attendant implications for governance.
For the avoidance of doubt, the government will neither tolerate acts of indiscipline from any appointee nor will it habour any acts of corruption. The government will, however, ensure that due process is followed strictly in trying to maintain discipline and probity in public service.
With specific reference to recent developments at the NHIS, Mr. President has after due consideration approved the establishment of an independent fact-finding panel to investigate the alleged infractions by the Executive Secretary and report back within two weeks.
The Membership of the Panel include:
(i)Dr. Hassan Bukar -Chairman
(ii)Dr. Emmanuel Meribole-Member
Director, HPRS, FMH
(iii)Mr. Adewale Owolo-Member
Director, Audit, (AuGF)
(iv)Mr. Shamsuddeen Bello, -Member
Deputy Director Expenditure (OAGF)
(v)Mr. Ishaq Yahaya-Member
Director, Certification & Compliance, BPP
(vi)Dr. Ekanem John Udoh
Director of Science (FMS&T)-Member
(vii)Mrs. Jummai Idakwo -Member/Secretary
Director, Administration (OSGF)
TERMS OF REFERENCE (TOR)
(I)To investigate the alleged infractions listed by the NHIS Governing Council in a letter dated 18th October 2018 and determine the extent of culpability or otherwise of the Executive Secretary with regards to the allegations;
(II)To make appropriate recommendations based on the findings from TOR I above;
(III)To identify, investigate and make recommendations with regards to issues that led to the unhealthy relationship between the Board and the CEO;
(IV)Investigate and make recommendations on the extent of involvement of staff Unions’ within the institution as to the current impasse between the Governing Board and Executive Secretary; and
(V)To examine all governance challenges in NHIS and make appropriate recommendations.
The Panel which is headed by a retired Permanent Secretary will be inaugurated by the SGF on Friday, 2nd November 2018 at 3.00p.m in the Conference Room of the OSGF. With the establishment of this Panel, the earlier body set up by the Governing Council stands dissolved.
In order to create room for an unfettered investigation, Mr. President has approved that the Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf should proceed on administrative leave immediately.
In his absence, Mr. Ben Omogo, a Director of Administration in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has been deployed to oversee the affairs of the NHIS.
The government recognizes the importance of the NHIS as a strong mechanism for the delivery of public healthcare and wishes to reassure all Nigerians of its determination to place a high premium on public interest.