- A crowd of 49 people has been sighted in a church building having their NIA registration
- This comes after the government put a ban on more than 25 people gathering in places including chapels to hold service
- However, it appears that NIA thinks it is safe to gather a crowd in the chapel with the only difference being they were not put together in the name of God
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A group of 49 Ghanaians have been spotted crowding to register for their Ghana cards at a branch of the Church of Pentecost at Kpong after government's ban on social gatherings.
Reports reaching YEN.com.gh indicate that the specific church building is officially under the Kpong District of the Church of Pentecost.
The observation is rather ironic considering the fact that the government of Ghana previously put a ban on all social activities and gatherings including churches services to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
It would be recalled how YEN.com.gh earlier reported that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a Facebook Live video announced that all public and private schools including universities and churches were, from March 16, 2020, to be suspended for the next four weeks.
According to the president, the only condition under which a number of people could come together was that their number should be below 25.
The ban on churches especially raised many concerns among the clergy and top priests in the Christian faith and now comes an instance when their chapel is being used to gather people.
It is thought that some church folk may consider this move by the government as a 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.
Social media users have been raged by NIA's move to continue registering Ghanaians despite the strick ban issued by the president.
Ernest Boateng, for instance, described it as nonsense:
However, it was not only individuals in Ghana who are against the registration exercise being conducted by NIA in these trying times as some organizations have also been.
The Ghana Medical Association released a press statement on March 18, 2020, asking for the National Identification Authority to suspend the ongoing registration immediately over the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement sighted by YEN.com.gh, the group categorically mentioned that in the interest of public health and safety, the NIA must stop all the ongoing registration in the Eastern Region immediately. This was because crowding increases the rate of transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Following that, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) also condemned the exercise in a press statement issued in Accra on March 19.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner, Joseph Whittal on Thursday, the exercise poses a threat to the NIA staff, the communities involved and the entire nation.
“NIA’s action is a clear violation of the right to health and ultimately the right to life as stipulated under Articles 34(2), 13(1) and 33(5) of the 1992 Constitution (Constitution) respectively.”
He further called on President Nana Akufo-Addo and the Inter-Ministerial Committee to order the NIA to stop the registration exercises.
An officer of the National Identification Authority (NIA) is even in the custody of the Suhum Police Station officers for illegally registering applicants Thursday night, March 19, 2020.
However, in a statement on its Facebook page on Thursday, the NIA insisted that its conduct does not violate the president’s directives on public gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The authority further argued that “the state of Ghana is not in a lock-down, and the business of Government is not expected to cease.”
The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has so far not spoken regarding the issue.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, however, has hinted the government will consider the advice given by the Ghana Medical Association for the National Identification Authority to suspend ongoing Ghana card registration due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Ghana.
The minister responding to a question posed to him by journalists at a press conference said the advice would be considered.
In other news, scientists and medics who have been burning the midnight oil studying and researching on coronavirus have now come up with a vaccine that has been put on trial.
The US National Institutes of Health, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, conducted the first vaccine on 45 patients to establish whether or not it would be effective in countering the disease that has been declared a global pandemic.
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