Prof Ken Attafuah, NIA Executive Director and Former President John Dramani Mahama

The National Identification Authority (NIA) has set the records straight on what it indicated were inaccurate statements propounded by former President John Dramani Mahama during a news conference on 25th June 2020.

After the Supreme Court ruling on the case between the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the former President stated the Ghana card, one of two identification documents for the registration has not been rolled out in full.

He also alleged that the cards are being issued with no mechanism for verification and added the NIA itself admitted to duplication of thousands of the cards.

The NIA has, however, described Mr. John Mahama’s statement as false and indicated it fully rolled out the mass registration exercise on 29th April 2019 to register and issue ID cards until the outbreak of COVID-19 just a week to complete the exercise.

The Authority, in a release indicated that but for the pandemic it would have completed the registration exercise in the Eastern Region by 27th March 2020 after having conducted the exercise in 15 regions.

“The Mop-Up Exercise currently underway is to further provide opportunity for those who could not register to do so,” it said.

According to the release, as at 23rd June 2020, NIA had registered a total of 11,385,494 eligible Ghanaians, printed 11,172,261 cards and issued 10,854,829 cards to qualified Ghanaians.

“The target was to register 80% of the population aged 15 and above. A total number of Ghanaians aged 18 and above have been issued 10,576,120 Ghana Cards and by the end of the mop-up registration exercise, it is expected that 16.7 million eligible Ghanaians would have been captured on the National Identity Register and issued the Ghana Card.”

The Authority described as completely false the accusation that cards are still being issued with no mechanism for verification and stated that 7,163,935 of Ghana Cards have been issued through the online verification mechanism.

The release indicated there is an inbuilt mechanism for the verification of the 3,690,894 cards currently being issued using the Card Issuance Album.

 “The use of manual verification is not a novel practice. There are various methods of verification. One can use the ocular inspection method, the match-on-card method or the one-to-many method which is online. The National Identity System is designed to utilize any or all of these methods.”

“Applicants who visit the Card Issuance Centres are identified and issued their Ghana Cards by NIA officials using the ocular verification method, i.e Crosschecking of their photographs, name, date of birth, telephone number and other details as captured in the album against the registration slips they submit or their verbal claim.”

The Authority noted that the adoption of the card issuance album in the card distribution process was informed by two considerations and these were; to enable speedy distribution of the 3.9 million cards to applicants; and to prevent the situation of having 3.9 million applicants across the country going to the registration centres when NIA’s mop-up exercise starts.

The manual verification, it said, will reduce the risk of applicants undermining the protocols on physical distancing (COVID-19).

On allegation of duplication of the cards, the NIA stated that 11,172,261 cards were printed as at 23rd June 2020 with only 525 instances where more than one card has been printed for an individual bearing different Personal Identification Numbers.

This situation, the release said, was caused by an error during a system update which error has since been resolved.

“A more detailed explanation is on the NIA website and was in the speech of the Executive Secretary of NIA when he addressed the media on 17th June 2020. Suffice to add that, only ONE card can be active against a set of biometrics (face, fingers and iris). In effect, no one can use two cards at the same time neither can anyone use the card of another person. The system automatically assigns invalid multiple card details to a watch list.”

The NIA assured the public that its mandate to register and issue Ghana Cards to citizens of Ghana is very much on course.