President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf.

A statement by the spokesman for the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olusegun Adekunle, said President Buhari recommended that Professor 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 Scheme," the statement read.

Giving reason for the suspension of the NHIS's boss, the Mr Adekunle said the decision was in order for proper investigation into the alleged infractions by the Executive Secretary.

According to him, the Federal Government has observed with deep concern the growing tension between Boards and Chief Executives and their attendant implications for governance.

"For the avoidance of doubt, government will neither tolerate acts of indiscipline from any appointee nor will it harbour any acts of corruption.

"Government will, however, ensure that due process is followed strictly in trying to maintain discipline and probity in public service," he said.

In the statement, the Federal Government said it had found it necessary to restate that the objective for establishing Parastatals is in fulfilment 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," the statement further read. 

Panel To Investigate

President Buhari has also 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

Dr. Hassan Bukar - Chairman

Dr. Emmanuel Meribole - Member - Director, HPRS, FMH 

Mr. Adewale Owolo - Member - Director, Audit, (AuGF) 

Mr. Shamsuddeen Bello, - Member - Deputy Director Expenditure (OAGF)

Mr. Ishaq Yahaya - Member - Director, Certification & Compliance, BPP

Dr. Ekanem John Udoh - Director of Science (FMS&T) - Member

Mrs. Jummai Idakwo - Member/Secretary - Director, Administration (OSGF)

According to the terms of reference for the panel which were also contained in the statement, the members of the panel are to investigate the alleged infractions listed by the NHIS Governing Council in letter dated 18 October, 2018, and determine the extent of culpability or otherwise of the Executive Secretary with regards to the allegations. 

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The panel will also make appropriate recommendations based on the findings from TOR I above and also identify, investigate and make recommendations with regards to issues that led to the unhealthy relationship between the Board and the CEO. 

The members are to 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 examine all governance challenges in the NHIS and make appropriate recommendations.

The Panel which is headed by a retired Permanent Secretary will be inaugurated by the SGF on Friday, November 2, 2018 at 3.00p.m. in the conference Room of the OSGF, the statement read.

"With the establishment of this Panel, the earlier body set up by the Governing Council stands dissolved," it added.

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