COVID-19 outbreak: FOSDA urges NIA to suspend ongoing Ghana Card registration

National Identification Authority (NIA)
National Identification Authority (NIA)

The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), a regional civil society organisation, has joined the appeal to the National Identification Authority (NIA) to suspend the ongoing Ghana Card Registration exercise in the Eastern Region.

A statement signed by Mrs Theodora Williams Anti, the Programme Manager, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, also asked eligible citizens to boycott the exercise and all other public mobilisation exercises as a measure to ensure their personal safety, security and protection against COVID-19.

“We have taken note of the various calls by the Ghana Medical Association, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and individuals for the NIA to suspend the registration process as per the directives of the President to restrict social gatherings, but to no avail.

“The increase in the number of COVID-19 cases currently and the beginning of community spread of the disease in the country makes it imperative for citizens to protect themselves from the disease if state institutions such as, the NIA are not willing to do same for various reasons,” it said.

“Citizens must take steps to comply with the social distancing and other safety measures to ensure their safety and security.”

“While the Foundation entreats citizens to stay away from all such exercises, we also call on the NIA and the Government to suspend the registrations to avoid any further endangering of the lives of innocent citizens.
“As the President rightly said, ‘these are not ordinary times’.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO), it said, had also declared a war against the novel Coronavirus, and that was the approach all stakeholders had to take, it said.

Meanwhile, the National Network of Youth Groups in Ghana, has also called for the suspension of the exercise.

A statement signed by Mr Ali Ibraheem, the Organiser of the Network, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the Group was highly disappointed that the National Identification Authority was still going ahead with registration of the people in the Eastern Region, in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It said the continuous refusal to adhere ‘to the directives of the President and the call by the GMA and other eminent state institutions and civil society was worrisome and a breach of common sense to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic’.

The statement said: “Ghana has now recorded 16 cases of COVID-19, of which at least three are ‘home grown cases’ (residents with no travel history), which could trigger local or community infections,” it warned.
“….The continuation of this exercise is putting the lives of Ghanaians at needless risk and must be stopped immediately”.

“We the youth of Ghana are deeply worried with the reckless and rush to continue with risky exercise that does not put food on our table but rather expose us to possible contamination of COVID-19”.

The Network urged law enforcement authorities to enforce the directives of the President against the public gathering of more than 25 people by halting the exercise.

“We are also calling on all the young people of Eastern Region to boycott this risky exercise by rechanneling their precious energy into educating their communities on the standard prevention protocols,” it said.

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