The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has decried the incessant corruption activities that take place at National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) since it was set up at the behest of the Federal Government of Nigeria to cater for urgent health needs of ordinary Nigerians at an affordable cost since the birth of this democratic dispensation in 1999.

In a release issued by CACOL’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga on behalf of the organization’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Adegboyega Otunuga, he said, “The National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, as a body corporate, was established under Act 35 of 1999 Constitution by the Federal Government of Nigeria to improve the health of all Nigerians at an affordable cost. It was established to provide social health insurance in Nigeria where health care services of contributors are paid from the common pool of funds contributed by the participants of the Scheme in line with international best practices.

“It is a pre-payment plan where participants pay a fixed regular amount. The amount/funds are pooled, allowing the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to pay for those needing medical attention. It is primarily a risk-sharing arrangement which can improve resource mobilization and equity. Health Insurance is a social security system that guarantees the provision of needed health services to persons on the payment of token contributions at regular intervals. The pool of resources is usually financed by participants, who pay a regular token, the government and on occasions, employers of individual participants. It is today regarded as the most widely used form of health care financing worldwide.

“However, the scheme has been consistently mired in unbridled corruption since inception, prominent amongst which was the crisis that birthed the probe of its Executive Secretary, Professor Usman Yusuf, on July 2017. This was a sequel to two separate petitions by Solomon Agbo and Dr Tunde Ladele, who accused the Executive Secretary of Nepotism and Fraud. This invariably led to his suspension by the then Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Ademola. It would be recollected too that the suspension order was upheld by Professor Yemi Oshinbajo, who was the acting president at that point in time. It is therefore, heart-wrenching to note that the same National Health Insurance Scheme is again, enmeshed in a fraud allegedly perpetrated in its Health Maintenance Organizations, Clearline International Limited over which two persons, including an employee of the NHIS, have been arrested while the Head (Media and Public Relations) of the scheme, Ayo Osinlu, has already admitted that humongous amount of money is involved and that appropriate investigations and apprehension of those indicted are being carried out.

“The Boss of the anti-graft organization added, “There is no doubt that this scheme is intrinsic to whatever plans and programmes the current government has in assisting Nigerians to overcome its teething health challenges. It is, therefore, commendable that the Spokesman of NHIS, Mr Ayo Osinlu, also confirmed the reforms and rebranding ongoing at the level of the health insurance scheme. Howbeit, we advise that such reforms must be holistic and taking cognizance of the tripartite arrangement of the scheme by ensuring that ordinary Nigerians, who are the main targets of the scheme, are adequately represented and protected by adopting enough checks that could discourage and nip in the bud, incessant occurrences of corruption within the implementation of this laudable scheme. This must be such that not only would corrupt enrichment by individuals and officials be prevented but that the reforms and rebranding are such that majority Nigerians is captured in the scheme with adequate access to qualitative and affordable health provisions in the country.”