By Hassan Zaggi
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has said that medical personnel, ambulance service providers, journalists, fire-fighters and some few others are exempted from the movement restriction orders as well as the national curfew.
He disclosed this in a statement signed by the Force Spokesman, Frank Mba, in Abuja, Wednesday.
It would be recalled that following intense harassment, intimidation and arrests of medical personnel, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), on May 19, directed its members to commence work from 8am and close by 4pm to avoid harassment by security agents.
Worried by the constant harassment of its members, the NMA in a memo to all medical and dental practitioners in the country titled: ‘Directive to Members on Scheduled Work period” and signed by its President, Dr. Francis A. Faduyile, said: “The NMA observed with dismay the pains and anguish foisted on our members returning from and going to work on Tuesday, May 19, night by security operatives who arrested and detained them in the name of implementing the lockdown curfew.
“This, to us, is not in line with the directives given by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and hence is unacceptable.
“Based on the foregoing, notice is hereby given to all Medical and Dental practitioners that since the security operatives have unilaterally withdrawn the exemption given to us by Mr. President as essential service providers as seen in some States and the FCT, I wish to state that with effect from today, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, all medical and dental practitioners should henceforth work between the hours of 8.00am and 4.00pm, to give enough time for them to return back home.
“This measure is to stop our members from working late and mitigate the embarrassment to our members in the process of carrying out their lawful duties.
“Further update will be communicated to members when this unfortunate directive from the Inspector General of Police is reversed.”
However, the IGP in the statement on Wednesday, noted that: “Following unending inquiries on the status of essential workers in respect of the due enforcement of the national curfew and inter-state movement restriction orders emplaced by the Federal Government, it has become necessary to clear all ambiguity on the position of the Nigeria Police Force especially as it relates to persons on essential duties.
“The Force wishes to state that it is not oblivious of the sensitive, indispensable, patriotic and frontline role of the nation’s workforce that falls within the category of Essential Service Providers particularly as it relates to efforts to curtail and contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To this effect, all essential workers including medical personnel, ambulance service providers, journalists, fire-fighters, etc remain exempted from the movement restriction orders as well as the national curfew.”
The IGP has, therefore, directed Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and State Command Commissioners of Police to give maximum effect to these orders and extend due courtesies to essential service providers so affected and also ensure that personnel deployed for the enforcement duties respect the fundamental rights of the citizens.
On the other hand, IGP Adamu, charged all workers who fall within these categories not to take undue advantage of their positions and privileges to advance other purposes not connected with the performance of their duties within the stated period.