By Ebuka Onyeji
The suspended executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf, on Monday forcefully gained entrance into the Abuja head office of the scheme with the help of several security operatives.
Workers and staff union with a handful of security officials stationed at the gate tried to restrain Mr Yusuf from entering but were overpowered by several police officers on his entourage.
Many staff members of the scheme where tear-gassed in the melee by almost 50 police officers that Mr Yusuf came with.
“They tear-gassed our men and women. They almost shot when we tried to stop them. Now he is in his office with many police officers guarding him,” Omameji Abdulrazak, the workers union chairman said.
Mr Yusuf was suspended last weekend by the governing council who also set up a panel to probe allegations against him.
The executive secretary was previously suspended by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, in July 2017 over alleged gross misconduct and fraud but was in February controversially reinstated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Similarly, Enyantu Ifenne, the chairperson of the governing council of the scheme announced his second suspension on Thursday over similar allegations of fraud and infractions.
The chairperson of Friday reacted to ‘fears’ of Mr Yusuf being reinstated the second time despite piles of allegations.
The fears also became rife on Friday especially after he resumed work despite Thursday’s suspension. But the chairperson said he was only allowed to pack his things and that he will be ‘locked out on Monday’. “He (Yusuf) was here today (Friday) because we allowed him to use yesterday and today to clear his office. By Monday he is not going to be allowed in, he will be locked out”, Mrs Ifenne had told our correspondent.
Workers of the union are currently protesting at the gate of the scheme.
The presidency is yet to react to the latest controversy amid reports Mr Yusuf has President Buhari’s backing.