Doctors under the aegis of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Lagos said they will begin an indefinite stay-at-home strike at 6pm today (Wednesday) over harassment by security agencies.
The doctors made their resolution known in a statement on Wednesday signed by its Chairman, Dr Saliu Oseni and Secretary, Dr Ramon Moronkola. “All doctors under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association in Lagos proceed on a sit-at-home starting from 6pm today, Wednesday, 20th May, 2020 indefinitely, until such time when the Government and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu 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 statement read.
Our correspondent reports that Lagos State remains the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic with 2,755 cases as of Tuesday, according to the figure by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The doctors’ association also demanded a written statement signed by the 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 decision came a day after the police commenced stricter enforcement of the extension of the 6:00 am to 8 pm curfew in Lagos on Tuesday.
As a result of the increased enforcement, many essential workers and journalists were arrested by the police on Tuesday night in Lagos. The journalists were later released after the intervention of police higher authorities. The NMA, whose members were also affected in the increased enforcement, decried what it called the conflicting directives of the Federal and Lagos state governments.
The statement said as a result of the conflicting directives, it was; “inundated yesterday (Tuesday, 19th of May, 2020) evening of several cases of harassment and intimidation of doctors and other health-workers by officers and men of the Lagos State Police command.”
It said: “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.
“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”.