Nigeria doctors to strike over treatment by police during lockdown
Essential workers were given the right to move at all times, but the doctors say this has not been properly implemented.
LAGOS - Doctors in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos will go on strike from Wednesday evening because of what they describe as police harassment of health workers trying to move through the city to treat patients during a coronavirus curfew.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) doctors’ union said it had become unsafe for its members to “continue to provide healthcare under the present confused arrangement”.
It cited an example in which it said an ambulance carrying a patient was “prevented from moving to a destination while the attending health workers were harassed and temporarily detained”.
Nigeria has had more than 6,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 192 deaths. Most of the cases have been in Lagos, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest city with some 20 million inhabitants.
A lockdown in Lagos lasting just over a month was eased on 4 May, but an overnight curfew was put in place nationwide. Essential workers were given the right to move at all times, but the doctors say this has not been properly implemented.
All doctors under NMA auspices in Lagos should “proceed on a sit-at-home starting from 6pm today”, which would continue until rules on movement restrictions were clarified, the union said.
A Lagos police spokesman declined to comment and referred Reuters to the national police headquarters in the capital, Abuja. A Nigeria Police Force spokesman did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.