Usman Yusuf, suspended executive secretary of the National health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has dragged the scheme’s governing board to court over his suspension.
In a suit filed at the federal high court Abuja, copies of which were seen by TheCable, Yusuf asked the court to nullify his suspension and declare that the board has no power to discipline him.
Joined as respondents in the suit filed on Monday are Isaac Adewole, minister of health; Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation.
The executive secretary was suspended by the NHIS governing board, over allegations of financial infractions and abuse of office.
But he had argued that his suspension was illegal, and that only President Muhammadu Buhari had the powers to take such action against him.
In the suit filed on his behalf by by Uchechukwu Obi, his counsel, the executive secretary urged the court to declare that the governing board also lacked the powers to discipline him and that they are “not empowered to get involved in the day to day administration of the scheme”.
He also asked the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants or “anyone acting on their behalf” from “disturbing, continuing to disturb, obstructing, continuing to obstruct the plaintiff from carrying out his official duties as the executive secretary of the scheme.”
Enantu Ifenna, chairman of the NHIS governing board, had, while announcing Yusuf’s suspension at a press conference on Thursday, accused him of financial infractions.
She had alleged the executive secretary had refused to carry out the board’s decisions on critical issues and “institutionalised” corruption at the agency.
She also accused the ES of allegedly inflating the scheme’s 2018 budget, “fraudulently inflating the cost of biometric capturing machines”, and “attempt to illegally execute N30 billion in federal government bonds”.
The board also alleged that Yusuf carried out unauthorised staff travel “in defiance to council directive”, “superfluous arrogation of project vehicles” and added he has been insubordinate.
Yusuf had said he was innocent of the allegations when Isaac Adewole, minister of health, first suspended him last year.
On Friday, Buhari asked the executive secretary to proceed on leave as the federal government also commenced a probe into the allegations levelled against him.