Curfew: Lagos Doctors Begin Indefinite Sit-at-Home Strike Over Police Harassment

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SWITZERLAND, MAY 20 – The Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA has directed doctors in the state to proceed on an indefinite sit-at-home order from Wednesday to protest what they described as ‘conflicting directives by the government and incessant police harassment’ on medical doctors and other health workers in the state.

The association gave the directive in a joint statement by its Chairman and Secretary, Saliu Oseni, and Ramon Moronkola, respectively in Lagos.

The doctors said that their action was necessitated following incessant harassment of healthcare workers in Lagos by the security agents.

The statement reads, “The Lagos State Branch of the NMA has resolved that it is presently unsafe for its members to continue to provide healthcare services under the present confused arrangement. 

“We resolve that all doctors under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association in Lagos to proceed on a sit-at-home starting from 6.00pm today, May 20, indefinitely.

“Until such time when the state government and the Commissioner of Police are clear on how they wish to operationalise the lockdown/restriction of movement directive as it relates to essential service and service providers, including healthcare services and doctors.”

More than 50 essential workers were on Tuesday arrested by the police in Lagos following the directive of Mohammed Adamu, Inspector-General of Police.

On April 27, President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the restriction of movement between 8 pm and 6 am nationwide to check the spread of COVID-19.

The President had, however, exempted health workers, journalists and other essential workers from the curfew.

“Whereas, the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, was clear on the exemption of essential workers including doctors and other health-workers from the ongoing lockdown/movement restrictions, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, has been issuing conflicting directives on social and mainstream media to the effect that essential workers including doctors and other health workers are not exempted.

“As a direct result of the conflicting directives of the government and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Lagos State branch of Nigerian Medical Association was inundated yesterday evening with several cases of harassments and intimidation of doctors and other healthworkers by officers and men of the Police Command in Lagos State.

“The healthcare workers were either resuming duty, returning home, or on-transit to heed an emergency call.

“There was a most disturbing case of an ambulance conveying an injured patient which was prevented from moving to destination, while the attending health workers were harassed and temporarily detained,” they added.

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