A coalition of youth groups from northern part of Nigeria under the umbrella of Vanguard for Good Governance and Quality Leadership (VGGQL) has carpeted the former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Prof. Usman Yusuf for criticizing the manner some state governments are managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) challenges.
The coalition said having been sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari from his position as Executive Secretary of NHIS in July 2019, following reports from two different probe panels that found him guilty of fraud and recommended his dismissal, Prof. Yusuf has no moral grounds to speak on quality leadership having performed woefully and defrauded the country when he was given opportunity to serve.
It would be recalled that Prof. Yusuf has in recent times granted interviews to a section of the media in which he criticized some state governors for their handling of the challenges posed by coronavirus.
But in a communiqué after a teleconference Sunday morning, the coalition said, but for the lockdown order on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), it would have carried out mass protest to demand the arrest and prosecution of Prof. Usman Yusuf who should by now be in prison or still facing trial for corruption, rather than misleading the people with fancy talk.
Signed by its national coordinator Abdulaziz Haruna Idris and national secretary, Barrister Bitrus Daniel Amuda, VGGQL said at a time of unprecedented challenge which has affected both the developed and developing nations, government and the citizens await encouraging words from men and women of exemplary character and not unnecessary alarm from those who contributed to Nigeria’s underdevelopment like Prof. Yusuf.
“We, a coalition of youth groups from northern Nigeria under the umbrella of Vanguard for Good Governance and Quality Leadership (VGGQL) wishes to express our concern that Prof. Usman Yusuf who was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari in July last year on grounds of fraud is now granting interviews to media organizations and raising unnecessary, aimed at causing panic among the people over the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our coalition would like to recall that Prof. Usman Yusuf was Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), a position that afforded him the opportunity to improve the quality of primary healthcare in the country. But rather than provide quality service to the nation and earn an enviable place in history, Yusuf chose to place his personal aggrandizement above public good.
“He was first accused of fraud and related infractions to the tune of N919million. The then minister for health Isaac Adewale set up a ministerial panel which indicted him and recommended for his dismissal. But the minister suspended him. President Buhari later recalled him to the position.
“A few months later, he was involved in another fraud related matter for which the Secretary to the Government of the Federation set up a new panel of inquiry which after investigations found him guilty and therefore recommended to the president for his dismissal; and he was sacked by President Buhari in July 2019,” the communiqué stated.
“Accordingly, we wish to state that the rightful place for Prof. Usman Yusuf to be presently in prison for defrauding the country. It is therefore unfortunate that he has not been arrested by the relevant anti-corruption agencies which has given him the boldness to be speaking to the public, criticizing other leaders who are doing their best to defeat the global challenge of coronavirus which is currently devastating communities in Europe, America and other developed countries of the world,” the coalition said, and called on President Buhari to ignore Prof. Yusuf, alleging that he is seeking a new appointment through the media interviews.
“It may not be farfetched to say that Prof. Yusuf, thinking that Nigerians have forgotten his recent history is seeking to draw the attention of Mr. President for a new appointment even with such tainted records. We therefore urge Mr. President to ignore him, as he has no place in the government whose mantra is the fight against corruption,” the coalition stated, and called the EFCC and ICPC to do their jobs by bringing the former NHIS boss to book.
“Lastly, we want to use this opportunity to call on the relevant anti-corruption agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to discharge their statutory responsibilities by arresting Prof. Usman Yusuf and bringing him to trail,” the communiqué said.
Among the groups that made up the coalition are Middle Belt Youths for Transparency in Government (MGTG); Watchdog for Progress of Northern Nigeria (WPNN); Progressive Youths of the North (PYN) and Arewa Boys for Inspirational Leadership (ABIL).