Written by Emmanuel Ogbeche

You lack powers to suspend me, NHIS boss tells council

The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, whose suspension made headlines last Thursday, has said the Governing Council of the scheme has no right to suspend him.

The NHIS Governing Council had in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr Eyantu Ifenne, announced the indefinite suspension of Professor Usman Yusuf over allegations of “infractions” leveled against him in some petitions.

The suspension letter, which was sighted by our correspondent, did not state such alleged infractions for which Professor Yusuf was suspended.

The letter stated that the Council viewed the alleged infractions “as serious misconducts” and that “in line with the public service rule 030406, has resolved to suspend you, Professor Usman Yusuf, indefinitely with effect from 18th October 2018 to allow for a comprehensive and unfettered investigation of the issues in the petitions against you.”

But in a reply to the council, the NHIS boss states that his purported suspension was null and void as the council lacked such powers.

Yusuf’s response reads, “Aside from the fact that I have not been notified of any of the Petitions referred to in your Memo, please permit me to respectfully bring to your attention that neither the above quoted provisions of the NHIS Act Sections 6 (j) and 7 (a) & (j) nor Public Service Rules no. 030406 referred to in your Memo confers on the council any power of appointment, suspension or removal in respect of my office as the Executive Secretary of NHIS as inferred in your memo.

“As you are aware, by virtue of Section 8 of the NHIS Act, my appointment, like yours, is at the instance of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces while the Council’s power of appointment is limited to directors and other employees of the Scheme. It is therefore clearly ultra vires for the Council to suspend or purport to suspend me from office to the extent that the said suspension is the prerogative of Mr. President,” the letter partly read.



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