The Center for Progressive Governance (CenProG) has noted with extreme shock and disappointment the insistence of the Prof. Ken Attafuah led National Identification Authority (NIA) to continue with the Ghana Card registration in the Eastern Region in clear defiance of all safety and precautionary measures in the midst of several reported cases of COVID--19 in Ghana and across the world.
The NIA rather than suspend the exercise has issued a press statement claiming to have initiated some safety measures to the extent that no more than 25 people should be present at a particular registration center. This is clearly an illogical proposition as it is not practical and the NIA should know and act better!
The rush for the Ghana card has made it practically impossible to operationalize protocols. We are very much aware of these challenges and so at this time, the sensible option would have been to suspend the exercise indefinitely. With the measures introduced by NIA,
1. Will SROs be at these centers at dawn to ensure that queues formed before the official opening times are not crowded and that the people are not more than 25 in the queue?
2. Will they stay awake throughout the night to ensure that people who decide to sleep at these centers are not overcrowded in the night?
3. How do they intend to regulate people who have been turned away from the center because the center has exhausted its limit of 25 and decide to converge at nearby places to ensure they are able to get there as early as possible when called?
4. What are the field officers going to use to clean the surfaces and scanners when the NIA in their own release has said they are having procurement challenges due to what they call acute shortages?
These and several other questions and fears have made it the more necessary that the exercise is suspended in line with the President's directive in our collective response efforts at curbing the novel coronavirus pandemic. We cannot put our lives at risk because of people's insatiable desire to compile a national database within a specific period at all costs or some people's desire to earn more through field allowances.
To this end, we call on Prof Ken Attafuah to the needful by announcing an indefinite suspension of the registration exercise in the Eastern Region. In the absence of any such announcement from the NIA, we further call on His Excellency the President of the republic to issue a specific directive ordering the NIA to suspend the exercise immediately.
Alternatively, we are monitoring the events in Parliament closely and so immediately the necessary emergency legislations are passed, we shall proceed to court to compel the National Identification Authority to with immediate effect suspend the registration exercise.
Ghanaian lives matter!
(Executive Secretary, CenProG)