Curfew: Lagos Doctors Begin ‘Sit-At-Home’ To Protest Police Harassment

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The state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) says its members will ‘sit-at-home’ to protest ‘conflicting directives’ and continued harassment by police officers enforcing the curfew ongoing in the state.

Curfew: Lagos Doctors Begin 'Sit-At-Home' To Protest Police Harassment
Curfew: Lagos Doctors Begin ‘Sit-At-Home’ To Protest Police Harassment

In a press release seen by and jointly signed by NMA State Chairman Dr. Saliu Oseni and Secretary Dr. Ramon Moronkola, the sit-at-home order is expected to begin today, (Wednesday), from 6 p.m. on May 20, 2020.

Under this confused arrangement, the medical doctors maintained that it was no longer possible for their members to continue delivering healthcare services.

They said the plan was necessary as a result of their members’ numerous complaints of police harassment that either went home after work was closed, and some on transit to answer emergency calls at the different hospitals.

They lamented that, while President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives on the exemption of essential workers, including doctors and other health workers, were clear through the Presidential Task Force on COVID 19, the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, issued conflicting directives that essential workers, including physicians and other health workers, were not exempt.

“As a direct result of the conflicting directives of the government and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the NMA was inundated yesterday (Tuesday, 19th of May, 2020) evening of several cases of harassments and intimidation of doctors and other health-workers by officers and men of the Lagos State Police command.

“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.

“You will recall that this same ugly situation had occurred sometimes in the early phase of the ongoing lockdown/restriction of movement based on similar conflicting directives from the State Commissioner of Police.

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

The Lagos NMA further indicated that until the government and the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu wishes to operationalize the movement lockdown / restriction order with regards to the status of vital staff, NMA has determined that it is currently unsafe for its members to continue providing healthcare services under this confused structure.

They also requested a written statement, signed by the government and the corresponding police authorities, with clear terms on the status of essential services, including health services and their providers.

The doctors insisted that the statement should be released and published in the social and mass media, as well as a copy sent to NMA’s Lagos State Branch Secretariat before calling off the sit-at-home order.

Adelowo Adegboyega
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