The Lagos State Council, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has decried the recent harassment and intimidation of healthcare workers by security officers, including Nigeria Police in the state.
The State Chairman, Mrs Agnes Sessi, expressed the concern at the inauguration of the union’s Labour-Civil Society Situation Room Committee on Thursday in Lagos.
Sessi appealed the government to urgently address the issue.
“The recent harassment and intimidation of healthcare workers in the state by security officers and men of the Nigeria Police is worrisome and condemnable.
“We call on the government to urgently address this issue and to caution these overzealous security men.
“This is to avoid unnecessary crisis at this critical time when the whole world is fighting a common enemy; we should be seen to be working on the same per,” she said.
Sessi also called on the government not to stop mobilising the needed instrument of government cum public participation to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.
While commending the government’s efforts in putting in place palliatives, she said efforts were not enough compared to the realities on ground.
“We call on the government to improve on all the indices that will cushion the effect of the pandemic and improve on the welfare of all people of Lagos,” she said.
Sessi said earlier that the aim of setting up the committee was to closely monitor the effect of the pandemic with a view to offering appropriate advice to relevant authorities.
According to her, activities of the committee will focus on sensitisation of workers and citizens on the reality, prevalence, prevention and containment measures against the virus among others.
“Our collective resolve as critical stakeholders to set up a situation room on COVID-19 in Lagos State will go a long way in complementing government’s efforts in the management of the pandemic.
“Also, proper and fair advice will be continuously offered based on verified information sourced from different sectors of the state by this committee,” she said.
Sessi said that setting up of the committee was to ensure the promotion and prevention of loss of jobs.
According to her, the committee will intervene on matters arising from the fallout of the pandemic to ensure there are no job losses and no reduction or cut in workers’ salaries.
“As it is, we foresee a situation where some factories and workplaces will experience closure and reduction in working hours.
“In fact, some companies have leveraged on the current situation to violate the workers’ rights.
“In all of this, Lagos State workers demand jobs and wage protection; to make this possible, factories and businesses will require stimulus, financial aids and other microeconomic support.
“We want both the Federal and State Governments, and international bodies to come to the aid of not only multinational companies, but also to employers of labour,” she said.
In his remarks, the Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Moruf Abdusalam, said that COVID-19 was a multisectoral problem that would need to be tackled by all sectors and facets of the society.
Abdusalam said: “Though, the medical practitioners and other health workers are the frontliners, we know that the pandemic is also affecting many homes, jobs and various sectors of our economy.
“The committee is a welcome development so that we can be a think tank for policies that the government will make.
“We cannot leave it to the government alone; professionals have to continue to advise government, both in our personal and collective capacities.”
The committee comprises NLC, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, NMA, Joint Health Sector Union, two representatives of civil society, among others.