The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has issued a directive to its members in Lagos State to remain at home for their personal safety, alleging that the state command of the Nigeria Police has been harassing its members.
In an internal memo signed by the Lagos State branch chairman and secretary of the NMA, Dr Salihu Oseni and Dr. Mronkola Ramon respectively on Wednesday, members were advised to stay at home until the Lagos State government and the state police command get their act together and decide on a unanimous directive concerning whether doctors are essential service providers.
“We have observed that despite the directives of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, which was clear on the exemption of essential workers including the 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 the effect that essential workers, including doctors and other health-workers are NOT exempted”, the memo said.
It added that “As a direct result of the conflicting directives of the government and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) was inundated yesterday (Tuesdays, 19th of May, 2020) evening with several cases of harassment and intimidation of Doctors and other health-workers by Officers and Men of the State Police Command on the direct order of the Commissioner of Police to the extent that even Ambulances carrying patients with emergency cases were impounded. This has become a recurrent issue.”
The memo warned that “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.”
The memo concluded by saying “All medical doctors in Lagos State are hereby advised to proceed on a sit-at-home, in their best interest, starting from 6pm today, Wednesday, 20th May, 2020 indefinitely until otherwise advised.”