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Ban on gatherings: We’ve not violated Akufo-Addo’s directive – NIA


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The National Identification Authority (NIA) has debunked claims that it has violated a direct order by the President banning social gatherings in the country in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the Authority, it has, contrary to the claims, instituted measures for social spacing at all its registration centers, a move it says is in line with the directive of the President to have not more than 25 persons at a place at a particular point in time.

The Authority, by this, is pressing on with its registration process currently ongoing in the Eastern Region.



The Ghana Medical Association, The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and some Civil Society Groups have suggested that the NIA suspends its registration activity in the Eastern Region in order to protect people from contracting coronavirus, particularly since the country continues to record more numbers of persons infected with the virus.

CHRAJ described the NIA’s insistence on registering Ghanaians amidst the outbreak as disrespect for the President’s order. The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Joseph Withal says a decision by the NIA despite appeals by the GMA and others could expose the virus to persons who participate in the registration process so NIA must immediately suspend the exercise in compliance with the president’s orders.

 

But NIA in reacting to the claims on their Facebook wall refuted all allegations leveled against it that it is defying the president’s order. The authority insists it has not violated the President’s order which stipulates all public gatherings be suspended for four weeks.

According to the authority, it is rather adhering to the president’s directive by sticking to the rules of not exceeding 25 persons at the registration exercise and providing NIA officials the needed logistics on the field to prevent the spread of the virus.

“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 statement read.

Also, they opined that President AKufo-Addo in his address said businesses can go on but must observe prescribed social distancing between patrons and staff of which they are complying.

They declared that since the country is not in lockdown and businesses are supposed to operate, they will continue to operate.

“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,” they stated.

Read the full statement by the NIA 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.

 

Source: ABCNewsgh.com

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