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20 Jul 2017

A disease is plaguing the n’assembly, says Sagay on reps opposition to NHIS ES suspension

Itse Sagay, chairman, presidential advisory committee against corruption, says a disease is plaguing the national assembly.
He said this in an interview with PUNCH, while reacting to  the house of representatives call for the reinstatement of Usman Yusuf, suspended executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Isaac Adewole, minister of health, suspended Yusuf following allegations of corruption levelled against him.

But the representatives had given the minister seven days to reinstate Yusuf.

Sagay described the lawmakers’ directive to Adewole as “null and void”, advising the lawmakers to stop interfering in the job of the executive and concentrate on theirs.

“Whatever the case may be, the house certainly has no role in the internal investigation set up by a ministry,” he said.

“This is the disease plaguing the national assembly which thinks it is the executive arm of government. That pronouncement of the house giving the minister seven days to reinstate the NHIS boss is null and void.

“If they cannot concentrate on their job and want to do the job of the executive, we are going to have a big problem on our hands. We will have chaos and confusion.

“So, that directive is null and void. It is outside of their jurisdiction. They were elected primarily to make laws.”

The senior advocate of Nigeria also dismissed to Yusuf’s claim that the minister has no powers to suspend him, saying Adewole is the “chief executive officer of the (health) ministry”.

“I believe the minister has the power to suspend the head of an agency. It is probably in the rules guiding the civil service. I know that the minister is the chief executive officer of the ministry and so he can suspend but of course he cannot suspend indefinitely,” he added.

“And, of course, there has to be a proper inquiry that would be set up to establish his guilt or innocence and the person must be present to defend himself.

“The suspension is to enable the accused person to clear himself and to give room for proper investigation and the power to suspend lies in the CEO of the ministry.”

Meanwhile, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has ordered the minister to conduct a probeinto the allegations against Yusuf.

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