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Only President Buhari Can Sack Me ― NHIS Executive Secretary

Prof. Isaac-Adewole-Minister of Health-

Embattled Executive Secretary (ES) of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Yusuf Usman, declared on Monday that only President Muhammadu Buhari can sack him from office.

He made the statement as dozens of Policemen and members of Department of State Security services (DSS) tear-gassed protesting workers at early Monday morning at the Headquarters of the NHIS to force him to office.

An employee of the scheme, Mr Mohammad Gajo, who spoke for the ES said the President is the only one who can sack Prof Yusuf, as according to him, suspension is the same as sack.

He stated that the Governing Council had failed to back up its claim that the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole backed and approved the suspension with a letter.
He, however, added that even if the council got the nod of the minister, the ES insisted that only President Buhari could suspend or sack the suspended ES from office.
Asked if the ES would quit if he receives a paper duly signed by the minister on his suspension, he said: “You see, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria appointed Yusuf, it is the President that will sack him. Suspension is relative to sack.”
He added: “A faction of the union couldn’t allow us to have peace at NHIS. Prof Usman has brought all his experience to bear to try and provide health care for the people. The suspension, they claimed they have the backing of the minister, but we have not seen any paperwork. In public service, you need to see a paperwork that says ‘I’m suspending you,’ we cannot work with the word of mouth.”
Meanwhile, a detachment of policemen and DSS helped the Executive Secretary into office on Monday.
The workers had arrived the NHIS premises before 8 am, chanting solidarity songs, saying, “Yusuf is a fraud,” “Yusuf must go,” among others.
The ES arrived outside the gate of the premises around 9 am, but the workers blocked the road within with their union vehicles.
The police and a few officials of the DSS, however, aided him to enter his office, while he abandoned his official vehicle outside the gate.
The crowds of protesters were tear-gassed as police shot tear gas and pepper spray into the air, to disperse them.
The workers, many of who were dressed in Nigerian Labour Congress uniform, had been backed by Governing Council of the scheme who vowed last Friday that Yusuf would not be allowed in if he dared to come to office.
However, the workers have vowed to continue their protest until the ES is removed from office.
They insisted that they would mount persistent and consistent pressure on the ES to obey the suspension order issued to him by the Governing Council of the Scheme.
Also, the Head of Special Services at the office of the Executive Secretary, Dr Uchenna Uwuleke accused owners of the Health Management Organisations (HMOs) of fueling the protest.
He stated that according to the NHIS Act, the Governing Council has no right to suspend the Executive Secretary.
He said: “Let us make it very clear, the Act establishing NHIS specifies the roles and functions of the Council. There is no specification to that prescription that gives the Council the authority or power to suspend co-appointee of the Mr. President.
“The Council members are appointees of Mr President, so also the Executive Secretary is also the appointee of Mr President.”