Police Harassment: Lagos Doctors Begin Indefinite Sit-At-Home Strike

Photo of a Nigerian doctor for illustration
Photo of a Nigerian doctor for illustration

The Lagos chapter of the Nigerian medical association(NMA) has asked its members to commence on an indefinite sit at home strike as from 6pm on Wednesday following the curfew imposed on the state by the government.

The order was given following reports that men of the Lagos state police command barricaded roads in the state from 8pm and prevented people from plying.

The move was said to have made many sleep on the highways with health care workers and other front liners fighting the novel coronavirus not spared.

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

“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 6.00 p.m today, May 20, indefinitely.

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

“It should be advertised in the social and mainstream media, and a copy submitted to the Secretariat of the Lagos State Branch of NMA.

“Whereas, the directives of President Muhamadu 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 (NMA) was inundated yesterday evening with several cases of harassments and intimidation of doctors and other health-workers 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 a destination, while the attending health workers were harassed and temporarily detained,” the NMA said.

“It took the intervention of the State Governor, following a petition by the association, for normalcy to be restored,” they said.