Why Buhari dismissed Prof. Usman Yusuf as NHIS Executive Secretary – By Bonaventure Melah

May 2, 2020

On July 2nd , 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari sacked Prof. Usman Yusuf from

his position as Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme

(NHIS). The President sacked Prof. Yusuf following recommendations from a

panel set up by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in December

2018 to investigate allegations of fraud and misdemeanours leveled against him by

workers of the organization. The panel, having found him culpable, recommended

that the president dismiss him from office.

Earlier, a similar panel set up by the Federal Ministry of Health in 2017 also found

Prof. Usman Yusuf guilty of corruption and mismanagement of about NB1billion

(N919million) and recommended his sack from office.

“Following the recommendations of report by an independent fact-finding panel on

the NHIS, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the termination of

appointment of the Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf, who has been on

administrative leave and has approved the appointment of Prof. Mohammed

Sambo as the new executive secretary,” the Director, Media, Federal Ministry of

Health, Mrs. Boade Akinola stated while announcing Prof. Yusuf’s sack,

As Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf was in a rare and

unique position to activate positive developments and needed reforms in

the nation’s health sector especially primary health across the 36 states of

Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The above was realizable

because NHIS was more than adequately funded by the government due to

the importance accorded to the scheme.

But rather than work for Nigeria and its people, Prof. Yusuf mindlessly

concentrated on enriching his pockets, diverting monies meant for

providing infrastructure and human development of primary health care into

personal use in order to fund and bank-role his opulent lifestyle that

provoked workers of NHIS who revolted and called for his probe. It is

necessary to state that Prof. Usman Yusuf is one of those to be held

accountable over the sorry state of Nigeria’s health sector especially the

very critical primary health subsector of the nation’s economy.

Since he was sacked and disgraced from office on grounds of corruption,

fraud and other related financial crimes, Prof. Yusuf has been in hiding,

probably enjoying the huge amount of money he made as the boss of a

very critical sector like the NHIS.

But like every Tom and Jerry, Prof. Yusuf has come out of his hiding place

and found the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to make public speech,

believing that Nigerians must have forgotten who he is and how he

shortchanged the nation by diverting money meant to fix the health sector

into his private coffers, as submitted by two different panels that

investigated and found him guilty of corruption.

Recently Prof. Yusuf shameless granted interview to a media platform

where he ‘passionately’ talked about the coronavirus pandemic and the

need for prudent management of resources meant for the pandemic. He

also criticized some states for the level of infection.

Reading his interview, anybody who does not know Prof. Usman Yusuf and

his track records especially his unwholesome activities, a little part of which

were revealed by the two panels that investigated his corruption-ridden

tenure in NHIS would think that a saint granted the interview.

But do you blame Prof. Yusuf? He must have thought that, like everything

we do here, the people must have forgotten his various atrocities against

the Nigerian state among which was enriching himself with resources

appropriated by government and entrusted into his hands to fix the nation’s

health insurance scheme.

Prof. Yusuf can now talk in the public because over two years of his sack

due to corrupt practices, he is still walking as a free man instead of been

arrested, tried, and convicted to rot in jail where he rightly belonged. If the

Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt

Practices Commission (ICPC) were up to their callings, they would have

picked Prof. Usman Yusuf since he was sacked to show example to others

who hold public offices that the wages of corruption is jail.

It may even be that by making public statements and granting interviews,

Prof. Yusuf is scheming to get a new appointment from the Federal

Government, probably related to the COVID-10 pandemic, and why not?

Didn’t they say that anything goes in Nigeria?

It would be recalled that while he was the chief executive officer of NHIS,

workers of the Scheme staged industrial protests several times accusing

Prof. Yusuf of corruption and diversion of public funds, among others


One of the protests took place on October 2018, when NHIS senior

workers urged the Federal Government to sack Yusuf due to his corrupt


The workers had, at a press briefing, under their umbrella Association of

Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria restated some of his misconducts, adding

that he had earlier been suspended from office the previous year. They

accused him of refusing drop his corrupt tendencies after his recall from

suspension handed over to him by the then minister of health, Isaac


Bonaventure Melah, a former Managing Editor of Daily Times Newspaper is the

Publisher of African Leadership Scorecard News and Magazine E-mail

bonamelah@gmail.com Mobile 08036062975

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