by Jonas Nyabor — March 24, 2020.*
The National Identification Authority (NIA) has justified its earlier decision to go on with the Ghana card registration despite President Nana Akufo-Addo’s directive banning public gatherings in the wake of the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The NIA in a defence filed in response to a suit brought against the authority by two individuals to stop the registration exercise said although the president gave directives for the suspension of public gatherings, the NIA’s work falls under the category of businesses that were permitted to continue to operate but with adequate precautionary measures.
“…much as the President directed that all public gatherings should be suspended, in the same speech Sunday, 15th March, 2020, the President expressly preserved the continued operation of businesses and other workplaces subject to the observance of prescribed social distancing between patrons and staff.”
“…the effect of the President’s directive is that, manufacturing, industrial and service workplaces including the civil service and service in other organs of government, local market, supermarket, shopping mall, restaurant, security services and other essential services continue to function, but subject to the strict practice of prescribed social distancing,” the NIA said in their defence.
The NIA further argued that their work is part of public services and as such the ban declared by the president last Sunday does not include the Ghana card registration and the plaintiffs on that basis have no case against the authority.
“That the National Identification Authority (NIA) is a statutory authority, part of the public services of Government and performing services which were not proscribed or outlawed by the letter and spirit of the directives of the President dated Sunday, 15th March, 2020.”
The NIA said the aspect of the President’s directives that concerns it, is in the area of ensuring social distancing and personal hygiene protocols which it has been adhering to.
This is the defense of NIA in court. Be your own jugde.