In what appeared to be a salvo, the public have been alerted on the damage that may be done to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), if the nefarious activities of some self-serving individuals, which are bent on destroying the progress and growth recorded in last two years, are not checked on time.
In a press release signed by the Media Aide to Dr. Femi Thomas, former Executive Secretary of NHIS, Sola Adeyemi described the current crisis in NHIS as the machination of some elements in the scheme who are bent on destroying any good policy that runs against their personal interest, arguing that all the allegations against the leadership of the scheme is an attempt to discredit the intention and plans s to make possible change in the scheme. Reacting to a publication by a national newspaper, alleging his boss of complicity in the purchase of a parcel of land at the Scheme’s office in Abuja, Adeyemi said the allegation was a calculated attempt to discredit his boss and tarnish his image. According to him, his boss was unaware of any previous offers made to his two predecessors at a tune of N300 million and N450million respectively.
He said, “When the management wanted to buy the land, as the practice, we called the federal ministry of works and housing, and they sent their evaluation department to come and evaluate the property, and the report by the ministry put the value of the property at N1.5 billion”. “Beyond that level of due process, the purchase was approved by the ministerial tenders’ ‘ board because it was beyond the approving power of the NHIS’ Tenders Management Committee. The negotiation was so tight that we could not pay agency fee. As a matter of fact, the evaluation report by the consultant shows that the landed property which is about 4000 square meters has a pile foundation for the development of a 7-storey building put the value at the cost N300million. The report of the evaluation is here for you to see.” The need to purchase the land was necessitated by the acute shortage of space for staff. In the office, you will see that two or more staff sharing a desk, and we realize this may hamper operations and efficiency. We also know this make sense for economy of scale to buy this parcel of land which is a plot away from our head office, than having another headquarters extension in Gudu. Also, we all know the rate at which the value of land in Abuja appreciates. So against this backdrop, we believe the property is not a bad investment for the scheme” he posited
Showing the report to journalists, Adeyemi said ” What is happening here is a case of calling a dog a bad name so that you can hang him. There is a malicious and under grand moves by a cabal in the system to destroy any Chief Executive of the scheme who is not ready to play ball and make it business as usual. There have always been efforts by a cabal in the system to frustrate every chief executive that attempted to run NHIS as a professional and profitable health insurance scheme, because some of them know that they are round pegs in square holes, and with time, if they don’t sit up, they may found themselves out of the service. “.
He warned the general public and the government to beware of the antics and politics of fifth columnists that are always parading themselves as saints and pretending to be working in the overall interest of the institution. “They are mischievous people who are planted by some vested interest to project their selfish agenda”. They have made every effort to discredit and rubbish the reputation of every administration that has passed through the scheme. This campaign of calumny to smear Dr. Femi Thomas’ name will soon be over and the good people of Nigeria will know who their real friends are.
According to him, the history of NHIS has not been exceptionally long, but we can all see that substantial growth and progress have been made in the last two years. Appealing to the media not to allow themselves to be used to further damage the all-important health insurance scheme that is positioned to improve the health needs of the people through access to health care plans, Adeyemi advised the media to be partner in progress, and desist from been used by a few self-serving interest groups to pull down the good institutions that are established to improve the well-being of the common man. “We would not hesitate to go to court and file for libel against any media houses that may be used to cause further damage to the hard-earned reputation of my boss” he concluded