The National Identification Authority (NIA) has reacted to critics who have slammed them for refusing to suspend their registration exercise in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Contrary to claims that the NIA has defied the orders of the president for public gatherings to be suspended, the NIA says it has not violated any directive since it has adopted measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The NIA in a statement issued today [Thursday] said it has adopted a numbering and appointment system to prevent overcrowding at the registration centres.
Read the full statement below
“All public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques, have been suspended for the next four (4) weeks. Private burials are permitted, but with limited numbers, not exceeding twenty-five (25) in attendance”.* These were the words of His Excellency The President in relation to public gatherings when he addressed the nation last Sunday night on Ghana’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The NIA’s decision to continue with the mass registration exercise after this Presidential directive has come under severe criticism condemnation, with some describing the ongoing registration as defying the orders of the President, and calling for the immediate cessation of the exercise.
The NIA’s conduct does NOT violate the President’s directives on public gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, the NIA decision is harmonious with both the letter and spirit of the following equally compelling directive of His Excellency The President, ” *Businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate, but should observe prescribed social distancing between patrons and staff”.* The state of Ghana is not in a lock-down, and the business of Government is not expected to cease. The activities of NIA are consistent with this position and the above directive of the President. The issue is not whether or not NIA should continue with the registration exercise but rather its implementation of the social distancing and personal hygiene protocols.
NIA is using a numbering and appointment system to manage queues at the registration centres and ensure that there is no crowd build-up and violation of social distancing protocols. All NIA field staff are being supplied with the requisite Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs), such as hand sanitizers and gloves. Veronica Buckets, water bowls, liquid soap and hand towels are also being provided at each registration centre.
In addition, applicants’ details and telephones numbers are taken on arrival, and they are given specific times to report at the center for registration or card issuance, instead of congregating at the centres. All staff and applicants at registration centres are regularly advised by the Supervising Registration Officer (SRO) to observe the appropriate two-meter social distancing instruction, as well as personal hygiene protocols.
These measures are consistent with the Directives of His Excellency The President, as well as the advice of the health experts.