Health workers in Lagos under the aegis of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA has embarked on an indefinite “sit-at-home” industrial action over alleged harassment and intimidation by security agents in the state.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Saliu Oseni, and Secretary, Ramon Moronkola, on Wednesday, the NMA said the directive takes effect from 6.00 pm.
The doctors accused police officers in Lagos of acting contrary to the directives of the Federal Government on lockdown order, noting that their members are unsafe.
The statement read, “We have observed that despite the directives of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhamadu Buhari, through the Presidential Taskforce on COVID 19, which was clear on the exemption of essential workers including doctors and other health workers from the ongoing lockdown/movement restrictions, (but) 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 (Tuesday) evening of several cases of harassments and intimidation of doctors and other health-workers by officers and men of the Lagos State Police command to the extent that even Ambulances carrying patients with emergency cases were impounded. This has become a recurrent issue.
“The Lagos State Branch of the NMA has resolved that it is presently unsafe for members to continue to provide healthcare services under the present confused arrangement.
“You are hereby advised to proceed on a sit-at-home, in your best interest, starting from 6pm today, Wednesday, 20th May, 2020 indefinitely, until otherwise advised.”
This follows the arrest of dozens of health workers by the Lagos State Police Command on Tuesday night for allegedly violating the 8pm curfew imposed by the federal government.
Health workers, journalists and either essential service officers are exempted from the 6am -8pm nationwide curfew, imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.