he Presidency on Tuesday stood solidly behind the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, in what the presidency described as his ability curb corruption in the Scheme.
Yusuf was suspended last Thursday by the governing board for fraud, insubordination, among other offences, but stormed the office on Monday to resume office with the help of policemen in defiance of the suspension
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said this on Tuesday during an interview on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast show on Channels Television.
Shehu said it was unfortunate that the NHIS crisis had assumed an ethnic and political dimension even as he knocked the Peoples Democratic Party for commenting on a matter it had no business with.
He said: “I will tell you one thing. You know that whatever the mistakes this gentleman may have made, they have to be proved. He has launched a major reform in that institution which had blocked access to public resources.
“Money from the NHIS is not money belonging to the government, it is money taken from your salary, from my salary. If we have been enlisted, we are supposed to get treatment when we fall ill. You should ask the question: In 13 years of the NHIS, how many Nigerians have received treatment?
“Yet, you have HMOs (Health Management Organisations), these vendors, taking N5bn every month, money that is just being shared and somebody came and said, ‘Look, this can’t go on’ and with strong support from this administration, the N5bn has been reduced to N1.3bn.
“And even then, the administration is not satisfied. We want to see healthcare delivered to the citizens of this country. So, there is a lot of work to do.”
On whether the council had the right to suspend the NHIS boss, Shehu said he could not say for sure but that many had said the council lacked such powers.