The National Identification Authority (NIA) has suspended ongoing Ghana Card registration exercise in the Eastern Region effective today [Saturday].
This follows an interlocutory injunction application filed at the High Court restraining the Authority from continuing with the registration exercise.
The exercise will be suspended “pending the final determination of the application,” the NIA noted the statement.
“All staff are required to report for work and render proper accounting of registration equipment, materials and consumables in their custody to the Senior Registration Officers (SROs) with immediate effect,” the statement added.
Some 20 persons on Thursday sued the NIA for not halting the Ghana Card registration exercise despite the government’s directive to stop public gatherings and as part of the novel coronavirus preventive measures.
They had also threatened to cite the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Ken Attafuah, for contempt when the suit did not initially lead to a halting of the exercise.
Ghana has currently recorded 16 cases of the virus.
Before the suspension, the NIA, however, insisted that its decision to carry on with the Ghana Card registration exercise in the Eastern Region was not violating the directives concerning public gatherings.
This is despite reports indicating that citizens looking to register for the card were massing at some registration centres in contravention of expert advise for curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Observers also criticised the NIA for continuing with the exercise.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), for example, said the continuation of the registration was a breach of international and regional human rights instruments.
CHRAJ in a statement also said the NIA’s actions were a disregard of the existing World Health Organization (WHO) precautionary measures aimed at containing and combating the novel coronavirus.
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) also complained that the continuation of the exercise defeated the precautionary measures declared by the state to combat the pandemic.