The National Identification Authority (NIA) has dismissed claims by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that it is deliberately frustrating the Ghana Card registration process in the Volta Region to denationalise residents there.
The Head of Corporate Affairs at NIA, ACI Francis Palmdeti said such assertions are unfortunate because statistics from the region shows that more than half of its 80 percent catchment area target has been achieved already.
The NDC’s National Director of Elections, Elvis Afriye Ankrah accused the NIA of deliberately delaying the registration process causing registrants to sleepover at registration centres only for an average of 60 people to be registered daily.
But reacting to the claims on the Point Blank segment of Eyewitness News on Wednesday, ACI Palmdeti said the NIA’s successes in the region proves it has not done registrants a disservice.
“It is unfortunate that the exercise in the Volta Region has been described as a disaster. I think our story in the Volta Region has been far better than in the Greater Accra Region. I say this, based on the facts and figures I have at my disposal. If we take our target for the Volta Region which is 80- percent of persons 15 years and above, we are capturing about 572,000 of eligible persons in the Volta Region. Total registration in the Volta Region is 318, 022 so far which is above half of our target. Those who have been issued with the cards are 230,000.”
“So from what we have done so far and the number of days left, we have not done the Volta Region a disservice. It is true that we have a lot of people out there anxiously waiting to get themselves registered and get their cards. It is also our utmost determination to have those eligible registered”, he added.
According to the NDC, it wants an extension of the mass registration exercise and issuance in the Volta Region due to the slow pace of the exercise and the numerous challenges that have saddled the process.
It says it will reject any attempt to make the National ID card a voting instrument in national elections as they believe the NIA is deliberately conducting the mass registration in a manner to denationalise the people of the Volta region.
We’ll register more to make more revenue
ACI Francis Palmdeti on Eyewitness News reiterated the Authority’s commitment to registering more people for the Ghana card.
“It will be in our interest to have as many people as possible in the National Identity register. It is when we have a large mass in that register that NIA stands a chance of benefitting in any way from the Ghana card project. NIA has been a cost centre in the past but we now want to be a revenue centre. So, this particular NIA project seeks to enable NIA to be on its feet in terms of resources and support itself as it moves along. So it is when people use the card in various services as they go along their business then we will have some benefits.”
Since the registration exercise began in the Volta Region, residents have been incensed over the myriad of challenges that have plagued the process.
Some students of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) have also fumed over what they call unfair treatment meted out to them by the NIA.
They had called on the NIA to introduce registration centres on campus but to no avail.