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.
I think the time has come for us to bring the National Identification Authority to order. Mind you, we’ve now recorded a domestic case and the probability of our situation worsening is high if they continue with their registration.#NIAStopNow pic.twitter.com/mCtBAnO3PA— Francis Yaw Gidiga Alfafa (@alfafa_GH) March 20, 2020
Trying to wrap my Head around all the possible reasons why this registration is going on AT THIS TIME and still arriving at the same conclusion – shitty leadership decisions. #NIAStopNow— G i o v a n i (@GiovaniCaleb) March 20, 2020
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.
Who is going to vote for you when covid19 is killing us? You guys think we are fool #NIAStopNow— ARSENAL FAITHFULS (@wengermustgo1) March 20, 2020
So for what reason is NIA refusing to stop the registration? Eeii what’s all this? Even to the extent that they had intentionally waited to register these people in the night. Are these people sensible in any way? Stop it now!!!!! Aah! #NIAStopNow— King Kojo Dan 🇬🇭 (@mrdan_am) March 20, 2020
Dear @WHO @IMFNews Ghana just recorded her 16th case with 5 local infections yet @NAkufoAddo is conducting mass registration of Ghanaians for a card that will help him win the elections #NIAStopNow #StoptheSpread pic.twitter.com/ILbY5X9uCy— Dzifa GUNU (@DzifaGUNU) March 20, 2020