Lagos doctors suspend strike over ‘harassment’ during virus curfew

A general view of the main gate of an isolation centre in Gbagada General Hospital as activities resume following the suspension of strike by medical doctors in Lagos, on May 21, 2020.
A general view of the main gate of an isolation centre in Gbagada General Hospital as activities resume following the suspension of strike by medical doctors in Lagos, on May 21, 2020.
Image: AFP/ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

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

The strike by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) began in the city of 20 million people on Wednesday, paralysing health services at a time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Health workers including doctors have been exempted from the curfew as providers of essential services, but the NMA accused police of harassing and detaining its members.

In a statement on Thursday, the NMA said it was suspending the strike following the intervention of the governor and assurances from the police.

The sit-at-home order issued on the 20th of May is hereby reversed and our members are hereby directed to resume work from 6pm today

“The sit-at-home order issued on the 20th of May is hereby reversed and our members are hereby directed to resume work from 6pm today,” it said.

It said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu “was exemplary as his timely intervention from the late hours of May 19, helped prevent the worsening of the situation.”

The NMA has over 40,000 members, most of whom work in Lagos.

Health workers detained by the police have been released, the association added, cautioning that it would be closely monitoring the situation.

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 cases have been recorded, most of them in Lagos, with some 200 deaths.


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