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Senate investigates NHIS, NPHCDA over alleged high-handedness, corruption

The Senate, Wednesday, directed its relevant committees to probe the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) over allegations of high-handedness and corruption.

The resolution followed an adopted motion sponsored by Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa (Abia North).

The NHIS has been embroiled in crisis over allegations of fraud and high-handedness against its Executive Secretary, Yusuf Usman, by the Governing Council of the scheme.

It got to a head recently when Usman forced his way into his office after he was suspended by the council.

The Federal Government intervened last week by sending the Executive Secretary on administrative leave, and constituted a panel to investigate the allegations against him.

In the motion, Ohuabunwa listed the allegations against the NHIS boss as high-handedness, budget distortion, fraudulent cost manipulation, illegal investments and unprofessional manipulation of humans resources at the agency.

“All these are issues that have pitched the NHIS against its employees and its Board, while jeopardising the interests of the general public,” he said.

The Senator said the same scenario was playing out in the NPHCDA, where the Executive Director (Dr Faisal Shuaib) was facing similar accusations.

“Many of our public agencies today have moved away from the direct focus on serving the citizens to advance economic and social development.

“Rather, they are now furthering impunity that borders on personality cults, and these certainly run conter to the objectives of the Federal Government.

“These unguarded executive and administrative processes pervading our public agencies, if not verified, checked and redirected for good, will seriously impair tthe important roles of our public agencies in advancing the economic, social and general wellbeing of our citizens.

“As a result, our nascent democracy will gradually lose its steam to emerging impunity of government appointed self-serving titans now looming large,” he said.

Ohuabunwa urged the Senate to exercise its constitutional powers of oversight to intervene and get to the root of the crisis.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, quickly put the motion to a voice vote and it was passed by the lawmkers.

The resolution specifically mandated the Joint Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases and Health to carry out the assignment.

It is to “thoroughly investigate the matter and other infractions, and inform the Senate of its findings in two weeks”.

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