Some social media users in Ghana have criticised the National Identification Authorities (NIA) for continuing with the ongoing Ghana Card registration exercise in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The exercise which is currently underway in parts of the Eastern Region flies in the face of President Akufo-Addo’s embargo on public gatherings.

The President’s directive is aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 as Ghana’s confirmed cases keep rising.

As of March 20, 16 cases of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in Ghana with three of them having no travel history, pointing to a possible threat of community-level transmission.

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the National Identification Authority (NIA) to suspend with immediate effect over the pandemic.

Two people have also filed a motion for an interlocutory injunction to be placed on the National Identification Authority’s (NIA) ongoing Ghana Card registration exercise.

According to them, the exercise goes contrary to the announcement of a ban on public gatherings by the President.

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) boss, Joseph Whittal has also called on the NIA to suspend the exercise.

“NIA’s action is a clear violation of the right to health and ultimately the right to life as stipulated under Articles 34(2), 13(1) and 33(5) of the 1992 Constitution respectively,” he said.

But, despite numerous calls from citizens and Civil Society Organisations to halt the process, the NIA is yet to comply.

The hasthtag #NIAStopNow currently sits at the top of Ghana’s Twitter trends, Friday as social media user pile pressure on government to suspend the exercise.

Some days ago, the National Identification Authority in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the exercise released guidelines for its officers.

The measures included a directive for all Supervising Registration Officers (SROs) to ensure, using appropriate queue management techniques including numbering and appropriate systems to ensure that no long queues emerge at any registration centre.

Following this development, many have also suggested that the insistence of both NIA and the Electoral Commission (EC) to proceed with the registration exercise is blatant defiance which will disenfranchise Ghanaians since the EC wants Parliament to pass legislation that will enable citizens to use the Ghana Card for registration into the voters’ register.