The Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has directed its members to sit at home from Wednesday, May 20, 2020, saying their safety of movement to work is no longer guaranteed.
In a statement signed by Dr. Saliu Oseni, Chairman NMA, Lagos Chapter and Dr. Moronkola Ramon, Association’sSecretary, noted that Hakeem Odumosu, Commissioner of Police in Lagos state, has been issuing conflicting order restricting the movement of essential workers amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Both NMA officials further noted that according to the orders of Odumosu, essential workers, including doctors and other health workers, are not exempted from the restriction.
The statement partly reads;
“We have observed that despite the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, which was clear on the exemption of essential workers including doctors and other health workers from the ongoing lockdown movement restriction.
“The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, has been issuing conflicting directives on social and mainstream media to effect that essential workers including doctors and other health workers are not exempted.
The association disclosed that the confusion has led to the harassment and intimidation of its members and other health workers, including stopping an ambulance from conveying a patient from getting to its destination.
“The NMA has resolved that it is presently unsafe for members to continue to provide healthcare services under the arrangement”.
The Lagos NMA vowed that its members will not go back to work until a written statement is issued by the government and police authorities stating in clear terms the status of essential workers as the curfew enforcement continues.
“All medical doctors in Lagos State are hereby advised to proceed on a sit-at-home, in their best interest starting from 6 pm today Wednesday, May 20, 2020, indefinitely, until otherwise advised.”
Earlier, on Wednesday, both traditional and the online media was replete with reports on how essential workers were restricted from moving within Lagos at the beginning of the 8 pm curfew imposed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
According to security officials enforcing the order, health workers and journalists could not be allowed to move around after 8 pm.
However, in a statement, IGP Mohammed Adamu said essential workers can now go about their essential duties.
The Inspector-General of Police had about midnight Tuesday revoked the order restricting the movement of essential workers.
The Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed A. Adamu has therefore directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police and Commands Commissioners of Police to give effect to these exemptions whilst enforcing the restriction orders.
In a Tweet on the Twitter handle of the Nigeria Police Force, @PoliceNG, wrote; “All essential workers including Medical Personnel, Firefighters, Ambulance Services, Journalists, etc are exempted from the restriction of movement associated with both the partial lockdown and the national curfew across the Federation.
“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed A. Adamu has therefore directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police and Commands Commissioners of Police to give effect to these exemptions whilst enforcing the restriction orders.”