Usman Yusuf, executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), says allegations of the theft of N900 million from the scheme are false.
In an interview with reporters in Kano at the weekend, Yusuf described the money at NHIS as “blood money”.
He accused some hospitals and insurance companies of ganging up against him for opposing some sharp practices.
Yusuf alleged that the action he took against 57 health maintenance organisation (HMOs) operating with expired licenses led to his suspension for six months.
”I came in 1st of August, 2016 and I saw all this mess with NHIS, HMOs, hospitals, insurance companies,” he said.
“They were messing with our money in banks and I said ‘this is not acceptable’. Corruption will fight you back, you have to fight it.
”I asked myself questions, we are supposed to cover 180 million on the provision of healthcare? We only cover 3 million, why? Who has been taking the money? I said this 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’s blood money.”
He said while so many people have been “feasting on blood money”, he chose to be a “good custodian of it.
“I have told Nigerians time and again; I have a promise, not to any human being in life but to my Creator… Number one, if I want to steal money, NHIS money is a blood money! This money is meant to pay for the sick.
“And people have been feasting on this blood money; 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 come from, the onus of proof is from the accuser, not the accused.”
The NHIS executive secretary also asked those accusing him not to “distract” him with false stories but take the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
According to him, even though he had been arraigned in court and probed by the national assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari reinstated him because he is a “man of honour and integrity” who would not stop fighting corruption.