Police escorts suspended NHIS boss Yusuf to office, fire teargas at protesting workers

Officers of the Nigeria police force clashed with workers at the head office of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Abuja on Monday.

The policemen numbering over 30 escorted Usman Yusuf, NHIS executive secretary who was suspended last week, into his office. They fired teargas at workers who attempted to prevent Yusuf from entering the premises.

Yusuf had kicked against his suspension by the NHIS governing board, saying he would resume work on Monday.

But the NHIS workers threatened to lock him out of office. As early as 7am on Monday, the workers locked the entrance gate, amid heavy security presence.

When Yusuf arrived at 8:30am, he gained entry into the premises with the aid of the policemen. The workers tried to stop him but they were overpowered by security personnel.

At a press conference last week, Enantu Ifenna, chairman of the governing board, had 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”.

Yusuf was first suspended by Isaac Adewole, minister of health, last year but was reinstated in February.

Meanwhile, the NHIS workers have condemned the executive secretary’s conduct as well as that of the police.

They accused the police of breaking the law and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to act on the situation.

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