Minority members on the Communications Committee in Parliament have condemned a stampede that occurred at the offices of the National Identification Authority (NIA) where many have gone to acquire the Ghana Card.

Many people have been reported injured in the incident with one person in critical condition and in hospital.

According to the Minority members, such an incident should not even happen and pointed accusing fingers at the Minister for Communications Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.

Thousands of Ghanaians have continued to throng the premises of the NIA in the hope of acquiring the Ghana Card to enable them re-register their sim cards with the deadline for the registration only a week away.

Deputy Ranking member on the Committee and also MP for Ningo-Prampram, Samuel Nartey George addressed the media on the incident and indicated the Ministry of Communications and the National Communications Authority (NCA) are fully aware directives for the registration of the sim cards are untenable technically and logically.

He said, “To suggest that on the 31st of March you will deactivate Sim cards… because per the NCA’s own report less than eight million Sim cards have been registered, and there are over 40 million active sim cards. So are they going to deactivate 32 million sim cards?

“You will expect a proactive agency and ministry to have announced an extension by now.

“Fear that they would be called out for the incompetence and cluelessness that characterized the original deadline is what is causing delayed action and getting innocent Ghanaians injured simply because they are afraid of losing their sim cards after the deadline,” he added

Mr. Sam George charged the Minister to immediately address the issue and reverse the policy directive in reference to the timelines and offer an apology to the families of the victims of the stampede.

“We call on the NIA to respect the sanctity of the NIA and cease forthwith the ongoing mass registration at its offices.

“They should rather channel their resources to the district offices that they claimed to have opened so that citizens do not have to travel from outside of the region to acquire the Ghana card,” he said.

Mr. George argued the NIA still remains a security installation and therefore there should not be more than 100 people on the premises at a time.

According to him, there were more than 5,000 people at the NIA offices last week when members of the Committee visited.

This situation, he said, could compromise the integrity of the national bio database.

Meanwhile, the NIA has confirmed the stampede at its headquarters in Accra that has led to one person being rushed to hospital.

Corporate Affairs Officer, Henry Myers-Aboagye, indicated the incident happened at the entrance when the gates were opened on Tuesday morning.

“I don’t have the details, but I was told there was a stampede at the gate as the gates were opened.”

“We have appealed to the public that when they get to the gate, they should just join the queue. But they will not listen, and sometimes it is just difficult. We got the police in to help, but sometimes it is just overwhelming,” he said.

As the deadline for the SIM card re-registration fast approaches, the struggle to obtain the National Identification Card has compelled many Ghanaians to throng the premises of the National Identification Authority to undertake new card registration, record updates, or collect their cards.

The Ghana Card is the primary and sole identity card for SIM re-registration and for other official requirements in state and private institutions.

The rollout of a mass registration and issuance of the Ghana Card has been marred by chaos and long queues across the country.

The registration of SIM cards ends on March 31, 2022.