The Lagos State Police Command has denied accusations by the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, of restricting the movement of its members, describing it as completely false and misleading.
In a statement, spokesman of the Command, Bala Elkana, said “It is on record that the restriction of movement order that took effect from Monday 30th March, 2020 does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.
Commercial establishments such as: (a) food processing, distribution and retail companies; (b) petroleum distribution and retail entities; (c) power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and (d) private security companies are also exempted.
Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted. Banks are allowed to render skeletal services. Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.”
Elkana, explained that personnel deployed for the enforcement exercise were fully briefed by the Commissioner of Police Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu and that every Police Station was issued copies of the Presidential detectives and extant laws for guidance.
According to him, the charged Police officers to be professional and urged them to carry out their assignment with compassion and respect the rights of citizens.
“The Commissioner of Police personally went round to monitor compliance across the State. Reports received from Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and Officers from the field shows a 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.” explained Elkana.
According to him, It is pertinent to state that the exemption given to certain categories of persons is not absolute. The order states that, ‘Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored’. To ensure that persons who are not on essential duties are restricted, the Command insists that apart from occupational ID Card, there must also be a document to prove that the person is on duty.
He said the Command appreciates the daunting task ahead of all of us who are in the frontlines in curbing this pandemic, especially the 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 said.