By Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf has accused some HMOs, Hospitals, Insurance companies as the institutions that want to defraud Nigerians and who ganged up and masterminded his suspension for six months.
Yusuf also lamented that the rot perpetrated in those institutions was not only disturbing and alarming but meant to deny 180 million Nigerians from benefitting from the scheme, thereby placing their lives in danger.
In an interview with reporters in Kano weekend, Yusuf disclosed that, “If I want to steal money, NHIS money is not what I am going to steal; it is blood money.’”
Also, Yusuf said, another reason why they were after him was that he inherited heavy debt profile from HMOs, Hospitals, and Insurance Companies. He alleged that over 57 HMOs with NHIS were operating with expired licences which he was vehemently opposed to, until they clear their over N103 million debt.
“I came in 1st of August, 2016 and I saw all these mess, with NHIS, HMOs, Hospitals, Insurance companies, with our money in banks and I said this is not acceptable, for corruption will fight you back, you have to fight it, if you want to do the right thing, this cannot continue, as it has been.
”I asked myself questions, we are supposed to cover 180 million on the provision of healthcare? We only covered 3 million, why?, Who has been taking the money?, We all know that, I say, this is not acceptable and anywhere you hear that people are after a chief executive, it’s because we are not allowing things to happen as before.
“If I want to steal money, NHIS money is not what I am going to steal, it is blood money.
“But I have told Nigerians time and time again. I have a promise, not to any human being in life but to my creator that I am going to be a good custodian to this money. The day I will not do that, I will walk away. Number one, if I want to steal money, NHIS money is blood money! This money is meant to pay for the sick.
‘”And people have been feasting on this blood money and I said no! That is the reason why they have been fighting me. Only in Nigeria that people look at you in the face and say, you are a thief. Where I came from, the onus of proof is from the accuser, not the accused.
“If you say I stole N900 million, then prove it to me! Or you take me to EFCC or ICPC. The President knows better. We all are serving at the pleasure of President Buhari; we are presidential appointees. The President can fire you any time without reason. But I have said it time and time again, nobody gave me my honour and integrity, I have earned it, all of us over our lifetime, all of us. And if anyone is trying to impugn upon my integrity, I will fight them.
“This is the problem. Calling me, thief, thief, they want to destabilise me. They want to push me out. They want to bring out this nonsense but the President has seen the truth, He is a man of honour and integrity.
“Way back, the battle continues, where we stopped, we would not stop fighting. We know that corruption will fight you by proxy and fight you frontally, so, it is never an ending fight. If they want to continue, we are ready to do that, the day, I am not ready to do it, I will just pack my things and go.
”So, they took me to court to make sure that the Judge makes me to maintain the status quo! What is status quo?, to continue to give them money blindly and then not delivering to hospitals, they took me to the National Assembly. They have been writing all sorts of things in the paper and the Social media. They just want to distract me. They said I was a thief and stole N900 million, with unsubstantiated allegation”, he added.