By Nasir Ayitogo
The House of Representatives has resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the crises that has rocked the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The House took its decision on Tuesday when it adopted a motion brought under matters of urgent national importance by Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa).
The Executive Secretary of the scheme, Yusuf Usman, was last week asked by the governing council to proceed on suspension to allow a panel set up by the council investigate allegations of fraud and misconduct against him.
It was the second time he would be suspended since he assumed office in 2016.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, first suspended him in July last year over similar allegations; but he was reinstated in February by President Muhammadu Buhari despite his indictment by the panel that probed the allegations against him.
In that first instance, he (Usman) had disregarded the sanction, saying the minister had no power to suspend him.
On Thursday, the chairman of the governing council, Enyatu Ifenne, announced Mr Usman’s suspension again, saying the council had been inundated by petitions against the official.
According to Mrs Ifenne, the official would be sacked immediately should President Buhari be made aware of “one-tenth of the atrocities” committed by Mr Yusuf.
But again he refused to accept the sanction, and on Monday with the help of about 50 police officers broke a barricade mounted by angry workers of the agency to enter his office.
Mr Douye, while urging the need for urgent intervention of the House, said NHIS being a critical sector on which the hopes of the universal health delivery is hinged “has degenerated from being a theatre of health to that of war”.
Contributing to the debate, Tobi Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), expressed his disappointment at the federal government which he said claims to fight corruption.
“This government claims to come and fight corruption but it is so sad that this impunity is happening.”
Another lawmaker Edward Pwajok (APC, Plateau) advised his colleagues “not to jump into conclusions since the motion is investigative”.