Crisis brews in NHIS over allegations of illegal recruitment of staff

A major industrial unrest is looming at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) over alleged illegal recruitment and secondment of staffers into the Scheme.

There are allegations that most of the postings that include that of the General Managers from other organisations were done in flagrant violation of the Public Service Rules and other extant regulations governing secondment in the public service.

It was gathered that no fewer than 15 of such recruitments from the Northern part of the country were done, including a 32-year-old woman, who was elevated to General Manager.

According to investigations, while 11 of the recruitments are from North West, including a driver that was also ‘imported’ from another organisation into NHIS, they were placed on levels far above the levels they were in the organisations they were recruited from.

It was discovered that four of them, including the 32-year-old woman, were made Heads of Department and placed on grade level 15, equivalent to General Manager, as they enjoy all the entitlements of a General Manager .

Efforts to speak with the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Professor Usman Yusuf, on the allegations were abortive, as he did not return numerous text messages sent to his phone.

Already, organised labour has issued a 21-day ultimatum to the management of NHIS to reverse the perceived illegal recruitments or secondment, or all offices of the scheme nationwide, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, would be shut.

Speaking through the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), labour insisted that a situation where people on grade level 10 in their former work-places are placed on grade level 15 at the NHIS was inconsistent with their qualifications and experience and same unacceptable.

The ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, lamented that efforts by the union to reach out to the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof Usman Yusuf, to have a change of heart and convene a meeting to discuss the perceived illegal secondment of staff into NHIS had been rebuffed.

He said: “As a responsible trade union that believes so much in dialogue in settling dispute in work-places, we requested a meeting with the Executive Secretary to discuss the issue of illegal secondment with a view to resolving it only to be ignored on all occasions.”

The Association of Senior Civil Servans of Nigeria contended that till date, it had written four letters to the Executive Secretary on the need to summon a meeting to deliberate and resolve the matter, which he deliberately refused to acknowledge.

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