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Coronavirus: Minority to table motion to stop NIA’s ongoing registration

The Minority in Parliament has indicated that it will table a motion in Parliament to stop the National Identification Authority (NIA) from continuing the Ghana Card registration in the Eastern Region.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu in addressing the issue in Parliament today, Friday, March 20, 2020, said that the motion will compel the NIA to respect the President’s directive on banning all social gatherings to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We need to show leadership in curbing the spread of coronavirus like we have demonstrated this morning. We need to reduce social contacts. That is why there is the minimisation of numbers in social gatherings. On the National Identification Authority, we will come by motion next week to debate that this House moves a motion to ask them to respect the President’s directive.”

The NIA began the registration in the Eastern Region on March 4, 2020, and is expected to complete it on March 27, 2020.

Call NIA, EC to order-CHRAJ

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has also raised concerns over the insistence of both the National Identification Authority (NIA) and Electoral Commission (EC) to respectively go ahead with the Ghana Card registration in the Eastern Region and the compilation of a new voter register amid the Coronavirus scare in the country.

CHRAJ in a statement indicated that the two-state institutions’ disregard of the President’s directive is in breach of the international and regional human rights instruments and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for which Ghana is a State Party and a signatory as well as the existing World Health Organization (WHO) precautionary measures aimed at containing and combating COVID-19.

The Commission, therefore, wants the President to order the bodies to without delay, suspend the planned activities to uphold the rights-based approach in protecting the right to the health of all persons in Ghana in accordance with law.

“The Commission is of the considered view that the President or the Inter-Ministerial Committee calls the NIA to order by suspending forthwith its ongoing registration exercise in the Eastern Region until the COVID-9 pandemic normalizes.”

“In the same vein, the Commission calls on the President of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 to advise the EC on the potential public health risk and safety associated with the planned voters’ registration due to the danger or threat that any mass gathering arising from such an exercise can pose to the health and life of the people,” CHRAJ noted.

Government to consider calls for suspension of Ghana card registration

The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, had earlier indicated that the government will consider suspending the ongoing ID card registration.

He made this known at a Meet-the-Press to notify the public on multiple measures being put in place by the government.

The Minister said it is an advice that will be looked at.

“If you read clearly what was put out, social gatherings have been suspended. [However], other activities including businesses are allowed to continue but with a social distancing with not more than 25 persons. Our understanding is that this is what the NIA is doing but it is good to receive this advice from the Ghana Medical Association and I’m sure as the President continues to review all of the methods that have been put in place that advice will be considered.”

We’ve not violated Akufo-Addo’s directives on public gathering – NIA

Meanwhile, the National Identification Authority has insisted that its decision to carry on with the mass registration exercise in the Eastern Region does not violate the directives of President Nana Akufo-Addo concerning public gatherings in the wake of the outbreak of virus.

In response to the criticisms, the NIA said given that it is observing the relevant protocols concerning social distancing, it does not find its decision to go ahead the registration as being against the directives of President Akufo-Addo.

In a statement on its Facebook page on Thursday, the NIA insisted that its “conduct does not violate the President’s directives on public gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, the NIA’s decision is harmonious with both the letter and spirit of the equally compelling directive of His Excellency the President, that businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate, but should observe prescribed social distancing between patrons and staff.”


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