By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Lagos State Police Command has described as false and misleading the allegation by the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association that some of its members movement were restricted and harassed in the process by police operatives enforcing the the lock-down order.
It explained that no doctor or health related workers were harassed or restricted by personnel of the Command deployed for the exercise as they were fully briefed and given extant laws guiding their conduct for the enforcement of the two weeks lock-down placed on movement by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Ogun States and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, noted that the personnel were aware that hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution were exempted from movement restriction, and that the state’s Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had also charged the officers to be professional and carry out their assignment with compassion and respect the rights of citizens.
Elkana, through a statement on Wednesday, said the Commissioner personally went round to monitor compliance across the state saying reports received from Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and Officers from the field showed high level of compliance
“Few cases recorded have to do with some individuals intercepted on the roads who claimed to fall under the categories of persons exempted but turned out to be false. Some could not provide any means of identification while others who actually belong to the professions mentioned were hiding under the cover to carry out their private businesses. An example is a medical doctor serving in another state but on annual leave in Lagos State, intercepted with three other passengers in his car going on private mission. A Police Inspector was also arrested with two passengers in his vehicle going on a private assignment in total violation of the restriction order,” the statement said.
Elkana said though healthcare workers and related establishments were exempted, the exemption given to certain categories of persons is not absolute, adding that apart from occupational identification cards, those workers exempted must provide relevant documents that they are on duty to avoid restriction or likely harassment from the officers.
“The Command appreciates the daunting task ahead of all of us who are in the frontlines in curbing this pandemic, especially our medical and health workers. The relationship between the Police and other professional bodies especially the NMA remains cordial. There is no time that we need each other than now. The nation depend so much on us in a time like this,”
He urged Nigerians, especially workers on duty in the fight against coronavirus who needed more information or complaints regarding non compliance, to reach the command on 09010512285, 09010512286, 09010512287 and 09010512288.