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NIA defends legality of Ghana Card registration in Pusiga, vows to continue amid NDC claims

The National Identification Authority (NIA) has categorically refuted claims made by Dr. Omane Boamah, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Director of Elections, that the NPP, which is currently in power, has criminalized state institutions, including the NIA.

The NIA urges the public to treat the accusations made by the NDC Director of Elections with contempt since it claims they are untrue and without merit.

This comes after Dr. Omane Boamah posted on Facebook on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, expressing concerns that the New Patriotic Party, which is currently in power, has criminalized governmental institutions.

According to him, the NIA, led by Ken Attafuah, a close friend of Dr. Bawumia, has selected this voter registration period to initiate a unique pilot program that will provide Ghana Cards to Ghanaians residing in Pusiga near the borders with Burkina Faso. The NIA “wants to give the people driven away from the Pusiga registration center to register within these final 7 days and vote on December 07,” he further claimed.

Additionally, he claimed that the Pusiga District voter registration drive is a politically driven endeavor “veiled as a partnership with IOM” and that its goal is “merely to assist illegal voters in completing the final round of voter registration.” He further stated that the NIA is “issuing cards to minors” and “misrepresenting their ages” in the limited voter registration drive that the Electoral Commission is running.

In response to Oman Boamah’s claims, the NIA claimed in a statement

said “The intervention by Dr. Omane Boamah in his said Facebook post is most needless and unfortunate; it is a case of much ado about nothing, highlighting the evils of deliberate miscommunication and deception of the public”.

According to NIA, “Beyond the truth of (a) friendship between Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Prof. Ken Attafuah and (b) collaboration between NIA and IOM to register Ghanaians in Pusiga and environs, there is no evidentiary basis to any of the wild claims and conjectures made by Dr. Omane Boamah”.

The NIA asked the public to disregard Omane Boamah’s assertions since they are baseless and fabricated.

“A long series of negotiations and preparations eventually culminated in the commencement of registration exercise on Monday, 20th May 2024, with the IOM bearing the entire cost of the operations, namely: surveying and selecting registration centres; deploying personnel and equipment; organizing and conducting the registration exercise; remunerating the staff; supervising and monitoring the registration exercise; and retrieving equipment and personnel after the exercise. The collaboration is supported by a Purchase Order for General Services duly executed by the lawful representatives of the two parties, NIA and IOM, on 3rd May 2024”.

“Registration of Unqualified Applicants: The NIA has never sought to equip or empower any unqualified persons with the Ghana Card to enable them “to register within these final 7 days and vote on December 07”.

“The NIA is unaware of any persons having been driven away by NDC officials from any Electoral Commission (EC) registration Centre in Pusiga. The arrest of an EC officer for allegedly using a single Ghana Card to register multiple individuals has nothing to do with the conduct of that EC officer and is unrelated to NIA in any shape or form. The NIA does not condone any illegal activity, and is not involved in the activities of the EC or its officers”.

“Collaboration with IOM is a Mask for Partisan Political Enterprise: The registration exercise is an honest operation in response to a formal request by the respected and credible IOM; it reflects the responsiveness of NIA to well-considered proposals from stakeholders for expanding registration options for Ghanaians”.

“The collaboration between NIA and IOM is not a mask for anything but an unqualified human good being offered by two noble institutions in the service of Mother Ghana. We unequivocally deny that the purpose of the collaboration is to aid an illegality. We firmly assert that NIA has not aided, is not aiding, and will not aid any “illegal voters to embark on the last lap of the voter registration exercise”.

“… Without the Ghana card or any other means of confirming the identity of border residents seeking to cross, conflict arises with Border Management Agencies (BMAs), leading to the usage of irregular crossing points by the border residents”.

” … NIA can leverage this opportunity to is Ghana Cards which have been printed but are yet to be collected by already registered applicants.”

“The Pusiga District registration exercise is a pilot exercise which may be extended to other communities along the Ghana-Burkina Faso border if after it is deemed necessary to do so”.

“Issuance of Cards to Minors: It is true that in EC limited voter registration exercise, the NIA is “issuing cards to minors” and “misrepresenting their ages”. This is a most shocking and unfair allegation, and we urge the Hon. Omane Boamah to report to the Ghana Police Service the conduct of any NIA registration official he knows to have engaged in such criminal acts”.