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Regional News Wed, 3 Jul 2019

Sakumono keeps vigil to acquire Ghana Card

Residents of Sakumono in Tema, on the eve of Wednesday thronged their local Holy Child Pre-school to keep vigil in a bid to secure "Ghana Cards" at the ongoing mass registration exercise being conducted by the National Identification Authority (NIA).

Many of the residents queued up as early as 8pm Tuesday evening, and others Wednesday dawn as early as 3am to carry an unsanctioned head count.

A few aged, were seen wrapped in cloth and jackets, obviously to protect themselves from the vagaries of the weather and mosquitoes bites.

Some young and energetic males were spotted playing cards and droughts just to while away time until officials of the NIA showed up to commence another tortuous day's work.

At 0630 hours, even before officials of the NIA made their way to the centre, long and orderly queues had been formed, albeit there were minor disagreements among prospective applicants as to who came earlier or otherwise.

Seats and canopies had been provided for the aged and a few persons living with disability who had amassed at the centre to register.

The numbers kept soaring unusually due to the limited days left for the exercise to come to a halt in the Greater Accra Region.

It was observed by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that there was no legibility in the filling of some forms which made it difficult and seemingly frustrating for data entry officials.

This slowed down the entire process as it left most applicants overly worried as to when they could eventually acquire their citizenship cards.

Others left for their homes disappointed and yet remained hopeful to get their registrations done in ensuing days before the process ends by close of week.

It was further observed that a lot of "protocol registrations" were being undertaken since some persons who arrived late at the centres were surreptitiously called in to be registered at the expense of others who kept vigil just to register.

Others who had undergone the process of application, constantly complained about the “arrogant posturing of an expectant registration official”, whose name they gave only as Sandra.

Mrs Paulina Amoh Baffowaa, a resident, who had stayed in the long queue at the start of the registration last week, but yet to be registered, expressed frustration at the slow pace of the process.

She said "for a cosmopolitan area like Sakumono, a lot of centres should have been set up to operate concurrently in all gazetted centres to hasten the exercise", and called on the authority to extend the exercise in Accra East, to enable a lot more residents to register.

Mr Francis Palmdeti, the Public Relations Officer of the NIA, speaking in an interview with the GNA, said his outfit was making steady progress with the exercise as it was within its expected target of 30,000 registrations each day.

He said between the 4th of June 2018 to the 29th of June 2019, a total of 1,787,492 persons had been duly registered and issued Ghana Cards, with the number expected to increase by close of week when the exercise ends in the Greater Accra Region.

Apart from the challenges with internet connectivity in Accra West, he said there had been some delays in the issuance of cards in Accra East but comparatively on a lower scale in most parts of the region with some centres not conducive for equipment resulting in breakdowns.

Source: GNA
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