Nigeria's Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has wielded the big stick, thus leading to the suspension of eight senior officials of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The development is coming less than two weeks after Usman Yusuf, executive secretary of the agency, was sanctioned over corruption allegations.
A statement issued by the director Media and Public Relations of the ministry, Mrs. Boade Akinola, on Monday in Abuja, explained that the suspension of the affected officers was to allow for a transparent investigative process by the committee set up by the ministry to look into the allegations.
In the statement, the minister directed the acting executive secretary of the agency, Attahiru Ibrahim, to ensure the immediate implementation of the suspension order.
The statement read: "In furtherance to the activities of the investigative panel of inquiry and the desire to have an uninterrupted and robust investigation of all petitions at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), including Security reports on Maladministration and Mismanagement by officials of the Agency, the Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has approved the suspension of the following officers, in order to pave way for thorough investigation.
"The affected officers are; Mr. Olufemi Akingbade, General Manger Zonal Coordinator South- South Zone, Mr. John Okon, General Manger Finance Account, Mr. Yusuf Fatika, General Manger, Human Resources and Administration, Mr. Shehu Adamu, Assistant General Manager Audit.
Others include; "Mr. Vincent Mamdam, Assistant General Manager, Head Insurance, Mr. Safiyanu Attah, Senior Assistant Officer Marketing, Mr. Owen Udo Udoma, Senior Manager Contribution Management and Mr. Innocent Abbah, Senior Assistant Officer Planning Research and Monitoring."
The embattled NHIS boss had rejected the action of the minister, saying only the president could take such step.