The Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association has began a sit-at-home action on Wednesday over the continuous harassment by security agencies in the state.
The sit-at-home takes effect as from Wednesday evening by 6:00PM. The association said the level of harassment had been on the increase, despite a directive by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to grant essential workers free movement.
In a statement on Wednesday jointly signed by its chairman and secretary, Dr. Saliu Oseni and Dr. Ramon Moronkola respectively, the association said it had received complaints about several cases of harassment of doctors and other health workers by security officials of the Lagos State Police Command. They said the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, had been issuing conflicting directives on social and mainstream media to the effect that essential workers, including doctors and other health workers, were not exempted from the ongoing lockdown order.
“There was a most disturbing case of an ambulance conveying an injured patient, which was prevented from moving to the destination, while the attending health workers were harassed and temporarily detained.“You will recall that this same ugly situation had occurred sometime 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.“This time around, while it is still unclear how the government and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, will wish to operationalise the lockdown/restriction of movement directive, vis-à-vis the status of essential workers, including doctors and other health workers, the Lagos State branch of the NMA has resolved that it is presently unsafe for her members to continue to provide healthcare services under the present confused arrangement,” the statement reads in part.
As a result of the recurring issue, the association resolved that all doctors under its auspices should “proceed on a sit-at-home starting from 6PM on Wednesday, May 20, indefinitely, until such time when the government and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, 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.
“That a written statement, signed by government and the appropriate Police authorities, with clear terms on the status of essential services, including healthcare services and its providers, should be issued, advertised in the social and mainstream media, and a copy submitted to the secretariat of the Lagos State branch of NMA,” the association added.