Officials of the National Identification Authority (NIA) have insisted that the only proof of citizenship for the collection of data for the issuance of the Ghana National Identification card which is yet to be rolled out nationwide, remains the national passport and the birth certificate despite concerns raised by the Minority Caucus in Parliament.
Addressing a Committee-of-the-whole on Tuesday to brief Parliament on the National Identification Registration Exercise, officials of the NIA accompanied by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation informed parliament that per the regulations governing the registration exercise, the NIA will only accept holders of these two documents as the only proof of citizenship for the exercise.
According to the officials, their position is justified by the LI 2111 of the National Identification Authority which only recognizes these documents as the only proof of citizenship for the exercise.
The head of the National Identification Authority, Professor Ken Attafuah told the committee that his outfit would not do anything that is contrary to the statutory regulations and that the National Voters ID card which is being clamored for is for voting and not proof of citizenship.
“Passport and Birth certificate are the only proof of citizenship approved by this parliament for this exercise. There is nothing illegal about this exercise since it has been twice approved by parliament in 2012 and 2014.” He indicated.
The Minority in Parliament have raised concerns with the position taken by the authority since more than half of the population would be left out of the exercise because just a handful of Ghanaians have either birth certificate or passport.
According to the minority, only 7 million Ghanaians out of the 29 million Ghanaians have these documents and therefore the exercise is bound to leave out over 20 million Ghanaians unregistered by the exercise being embarked upon by the NIA.
They have argued that the voters ID card should be used as proof of citizenship for the process since it has a wider coverage of subscription than the birth certificate and the passport. They suggest that since the National voters ID card has a subscription level of over 15 million Ghanaians and its holders are supposed to be Ghanaians, its bits their imagination why the authority is being adamant in its decision not to use it.
The NIA has begun the second phase of the registration exercise by registering Members of Parliament and issuing out the Ghana card to them, however the Minority has vowed to stay out of the exercise until a solution is found to the problem.
Speaking at the sidelines of the Committee of the Whole sitting, the Member of Parliament for the the Tamale North constituency and the Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, informed the media that the minority was boycotting the process until further notice.
He also indicated that the Minority would consider legal action should the need arise after all persuasions have failed.
Source: Clement Akoloh/afriwakeradio.com