Posted by News Express | 14 February 2018 | 1,215 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the reinstatement of the suspended Executive Secretary (ES) of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf, by President Muhammadu Buhari, describing it is a crude fashion of overruling the anti-graft crusade, a text book example of political hypocrisy and nepotism that have characterised the administration.
The rights group also criticised the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for celebrating naked hypocrisy by his unsustainable defense of the recall of the Daura, Katsina state born controversial Executive Secretary of NHIS, a man who allegedly mismanaged an amount twice the amount for which the immediate past spokesman of the opposition PDP, Olisa Metuh, is being witch-hunted by the EFCC.
HURIWA in a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, lamented that the current administration has openly demonstrated an unabashed partisan and one-sided war against graft, designed as a platform to carry out well coordinated political witch-hunt of political opposition leaders.
This is even when the same government has continued to condone acts of alleged theft of public funds committed by distant or close cousins of the President such as the recalled NHIS boss, the statement noted.
The group advised the health minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, to resign honourably and engage in other productive functions outside of an administration that has undermined his sense of judgment in the matter involving his subordinate in the person of the reinstated Yusuf or stay back and watch how he will be disgraced for his courage to suspend a suspected distant first cousin of the President for alleged mismanagement of public funds.
“We have it on good authority that the reinstated NHIS ES is a cousin of President Muhammadu Buhari which explained why he bluntly disrespected the minister when he was given the matching order. We were told that the powerful cabal within the presidency was actually instrumental to his unmeritorious appointment to head the strategic institution with lots of slush funds.
“These powerful persons in the Presidency who made sure that their man Friday is recalled will disgrace the health minister who almost marred their plots to control the huge funds available in the coffers of NHIS,” the group said.
HURIWA recalled that Yusuf was suspended by the minister of health, in June 2017, following allegations of gross misconduct in addition to him being found guilty of alleged offences that ranged from nepotism to theft of public funds.
It criticized President Buhari for not considering Yusuf’s heavy indictment by a ministerial panel, before asking him to return to work even as his administration has consistently misused the Ibrahim Magu-led EFCC to go after members of the opposition party.
It noted that the presidency in a bid to recover the supposed huge cash the then ruling party raised and spent for its presidential campaigns had employed all unscrupulous means, while the APC which wrestled power from PDP and obviously outspent the other parties, is not being investigated over how it managed to pull together such humongous war chest in the last elections.
HURIWA maintained that this nepotistic recall of the alleged distant cousin of President Buhari has knocked the final death nail to the coffin of the EFCC’s choreographed war against corruption.
The group affirmed that the decision is a direct breach of the Presidential oath of office sworn to by Buhari.
“It is only in a Banana Republic that such a lawless action could be taken by the President who simply sent the letter of reinstatement to his health minister Professor Adewole which amounted to a show of shame.
HURIWA however carpeted President Muhammadu Buhari for hurriedly reinstating a man that was indicted of such grave financial wrongdoings.
It could be recalled that Adewole set up a committee last year to probe Yusuf for alleged culpability in the discharge of his responsibilities.
The health minister had in a letter ref C.405/1/132, dated 6th July 2017, suspended Yusuf from office for three months to allow for an interrupted administrative, investigative committee to look into the various allegations against him including that of monumental fraud, gross abuse of office and nepotism inimical to the NHIS scheme “under your leadership.”
While awaiting President Buhari’s directive and considering that the committee found Yusuf “culpable in many areas of your performance as the executive secretary of the NHIS,” the minister further extended his suspension from office pending the decision the President on the report.”
Rather than sanction the NHIS boss appropriately, the group is alarmed that the President not only recalled him but that the reinstatement letter urged Yusuf “to work closely with the minister upon resumption.”
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