Nigerian medical doctors have threatened to go on strike over the incessant harassment of health workers by security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), FCT chapter, Ekpe Phillips, gave the warning at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr Phillips said the level of harassment was still high despite a directive by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to grant essential workers free movement.
“There is incessant harassment of health workers in FCT even when they show their ID card.
“The health care workers are front liners against this war of COVID-19. They should be encouraged rather than being harassed.
“These cases have been discussed with the commissioner of police and the director of security in FCT.
“We have told them that if they cannot protect the healthcare workers, we have no choice than to sit at home and let the system run by itself,” he said.
Since the imposition of overnight curfew across Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari, some health care workers and media practitioners have reported cases of harassment by security officers.
The National Coordinator of the Task Force, Sani Aliyu, has repeatedly stated that essential workers are exempted from the curfew.
This, he said, is to enable them carry out their responsibilities effectively.
Mr Aliyu, while reacting to the threat by the medical workers, said talks would begin with security heads to ensure the safety and free passage of all essential workers, including health care workers.
“Essential workers need to be allowed free movement according to the PTF guidelines.
“It is important that we continue to maintain our services across the country. We also need some economic activities while we are trying to get on top of this issue.
“I will be in touch with the chairman of the FCT task force and the security chiefs,” he said.
NMA also donated some homemade Personal Protective equipment (PPE) to front line health workers. Items donated includes 1600 face mask, 1600 hand sanitizer and 1600 face shields.
”Nigeria and FCT are advocating the use of a face mask. In many hospitals, companies, market places the enforcement agencies are making sure everyone is wearing a face mask.
“People that are mostly at risk are the health care workers.
“It is on this note we decided to compliment what the government and other philanthropist are doing,” Mr Phillip said.
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