The National Identification Authority (NIA) has parried criticism that its ongoing registration flouts a directive by the president against social gatherings in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The NIA’s conduct does NOT violate the President’s directives on public gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Authority said in a statement on Thursday, March 19.
“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.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had ordered all public gatherings to cease as Ghana strives to contain the spread of Covid-19.
But on Monday, a day after the president issued the directive, NIA continued registration of Ghanaians for the National ID cards, popularly known as Ghana Cards, in the Eastern Region.
This attracted criticism from several quarters including the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), whose members were not happy with the situation.
But the Authority emphasised: “The activities of NIA are consistent with [the] position and the above directive of the President.”
It said the president did not bar businesses and other workplaces from operating but admonished them to “observe prescribed social distancing between patrons and staff”.
It pointed out that that is exactly what it is doing at the various registration centres.
“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.”
The Authority said there is no cause for alarm as it is observing the appropriate two-meter social distancing instruction.