The leadership of the NDC in the Eastern region has expressed shock over the government’s bid to defend the National Identification Authority‘s (NIA) decision to go ahead with the mass registration for the Ghana Card amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite a ban on public gathering, the NIA has flouted the president’s directive by carrying out mass registration of people in the Eastern region for the Ghana Card.
Two citizens sued the Authority over the issue with the court granting an interlocutory injunction. However, defending the NIA’s action in court, a deputy attorney general, Godfred Dame said the Ghana card will be needed in the upcoming voter registration exercise.
Therefore it means a halt on the exercise will result in “irremediable harm which can never be occasioned by the respondents by the grant of this application”.
Reacting to the AG’s argument, the NDC leadership in the Eastern region said it received the news with shock and dismay.
“The NDC leadership in the Eastern Region is, by this release, calling on the President to stop the NIA from continuing with the mass registration, and to order the Attorney General to withdraw the State’s defence filed against the injunction application until such time the country is able to contain this pandemic,” it said in a statement.
Below is the full statement
INJUNCTION ON THE NIA, GOVERNMENT RESPONSE AND MATTERS ARISING
The Eastern Regional leadership of the National Democratic Congress has read with utter shock and dismay, media reports about the President’s resolve (through the Attorney General) to use the courts to dismiss the injunction application brought against the National Identification Authority with regards to the mass “ECOWAS” card registration in the Eastern Region.
It is more shocking to realise that this action is being carried out by the President and his assigns at this crucial time, considering the obvious challenge the nation is currently being faced with.
As we may recall, several professional bodies including the Ghana Medical Association, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Eastern Regional Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Service all gave expert advice calling on government and NIA to abandon the mass registration in the Eastern Region due to its obvious negative public health implications on citizens, in the wake of the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic.
Subsequent to these advices, two citizens and some residents of the Region proceeded to court, praying for the NIA to be prevented from carrying out the mass registration during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
We are amazed therefore, that a President who openly admits we are not in normal times and calls for a National collaboration towards the fight against the coronavirus pandemic will still embolden a state institution under his authority, to carry out an exercise that is inimical to the nation’s fight against the pandemic.
The President’s initial directive that banned “all forms of public gathering including church service and funerals” did not exclude any other form of public gatherings. Infact the restriction to a gathering of not exceeding 25 which has now been erroneously extended to other public gatherings were exclusive to private burials in the initial directive of the president.
The rationale behind this show of arrogance and disregard for the general health of the public, therefore, can’t be lost on us as it has been eloquently espoused by government officials.
In fact, the Attorney General’s office has in the state’s defence against the injunction application, stated emphatically that the NIA card is being pushed through for the purpose of the proposed new voter registration exercise.
Indeed, just some few days ago, a Constitutional Instrument was laid before parliament on the Electoral Commission’s behalf, making the NIA card one of the two primary required documents for the voter registration if passed.
It is obvious from the aforementioned that the President is forcefully pushing through this NIA mass registration in the Eastern Region, which happens to be his home region, only for electoral value at the expense of the risk of exposure of the people in the region to the deadly COVID-19.
In fact, Nana Akufo-Addo by this action has placed his wishful re-election far and above the nation’s interest, at this time when COVID-19 is seriously wrecking our nation.
It is also surprising to have learnt that the President during his recent encounter with the Clergy denied being aware of the NIA’s disregard for his own directives on public gathering protocols when the issue was raised by these concerned Clergy.
Surprisingly, the directive from the President sought to empty the churches only for these same churches to be used as gathering points for the NIA registrations. How do we encourage the public to “stay home” whilst a state institution encourages them to gather in numbers. The NIA claim of following protocols is stage managed and not sincere.
The NDC leadership in the Eastern Region is, by this release, calling on the President to stop the NIA from continuing with the mass registration, and to order the Attorney General to withdraw the State’s defence filed against the injunction application until such time the country is able to contain this pandemic.
Failure to do so will leave Ghanaians with no other option than to come to the firm conclusion that the President is obviously not interested in the public safety of ordinary Ghanaians; and is only concerned about holding on to political power, hence has encouraged his appointees to disregard his own directives.
The NDC believes we are not in normal times as espoused by His Excellency the President of Ghana, hence admonishes everyone to join the fight against COVID-19. We believe, together, we will pull through this pandemic.
May God continue to have mercy on us all, and may He bless our homeland Ghana.
Eastern Regional Secretary, NDC.
Source: Daily Mail GH