Lagos doctors strike over 'harassment' during virus curfew

2020-05-21 13:59

Doctors in Nigeria's economic capital Lagos have gone on strike to protest alleged police harassment of health workers during a dusk-to-dawn curfew aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Health workers including doctors have been exempted from the curfew as providers of essential services, but the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has accused police in Lagos of harassing and detaining its members.

READ | 18 killed by Nigeria security forces over virus lockdown: rights body

"The Lagos State branch of the NMA has resolved that it is presently unsafe for its members to continue to provide healthcare services under the present confused arrangement," the doctors' body said in a statement late on Wednesday.

It cited an incident in which an ambulance carrying a patient was "prevented from moving to a destination while the attending health workers were harassed and temporarily detained".

The group urged doctors in Nigeria's largest city with a population of 20 million to stage a "sit-at-home" protest pending a resolution of the dispute.

National police spokesperson Frank Mba issued a statement saying: "All essential workers, including medical personnel, firefighters, ambulance services, journalists, etc., are exempted from the restriction of movement associated with the partial lockdown and national curfew across the federation."

He said police officers across the West African country have been directed to recognise the exemptions "while enforcing the restriction orders" on others.

Nigeria has introduced a raft of measures, including a lockdown as well as the curfew, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

So far 6 677 have been infected, most in Lagos, with some 200 deaths.

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Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa  |  coronavirus

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