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National Identification Authority In A Mess   
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The agitators in a group photograph
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The National Identification Authority (NIA) established to capture biometric data and produce national identification cards, appears to be struggling to deliver on its mandate.

The authority, which commenced operation under the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, is facing a myriad of problems including lack of funds, logistical constraints and their inability to pay staff.

To make matters worse, the management and day-to-day activities of the authority has been overly politicized, with all top positions at the NIA being assigned to family members or relatives of top guns in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Almost two years after the registration exercise in six regions (Central, Western, Eastern Volta, Greater Accra and Ashanti), the issuance of the National ID Cards have stalled while the authority is yet to commence the registration of Ghanaians in Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.

It is understood that contracts have been sublet to a company called M&G Systems which belongs to some top officers of the authority, while some staff use the authority’s computers and other equipment to produce ID cards for private organization and pocket the proceeds.

Daily Guide sources indicate that M&G Systems constantly tap into the national identification system to collect data for their private business while laptops, vehicles and other equipment of the authority have gone missing.

As if that is not enough, about 150 Mobile Registration Workstation (MRW) operators who claim to have not been paid by the authority since May 2010 have began agitations to get the authority to pay them their salaries.

Yesterday in Accra, angry-looking operators stormed the Gulf House areas where the NIA head office is located but they were thrown out by heavily-armed police personnel who were brought to restore order.

The agitations came on a day when the Authority was to start the distribution of national ID. The operators are protesting because apart from not being paid their salaries, the authority has sidestepped them and engaged unknown persons for the registration in the Brong Ahafo Region.

They therefore want to know their status as far as their contract with the NIA is concerned.

According to the NIA, only 20 people had been tasked to commence the registration exercise in Brong Ahafo instead of the usual 1500, but the agitators claimed the list was riddled with NDC foot-soldiers.

They said the NIA kept sending them text messages to ask them to standby for postings to the BA and other regions yet to be covered but it ended up sending relatives of top officers of the Authority as well as NDC gurus to continue the exercise in BA.

“They are refusing to engage us because they say we are NPP. They say we were recruited under the NPP so they no longer need our services. If you send an application to the NIA and attach a complimentary card belonging to any NDC guru, you are quickly asked to proceed to work for the authority.”

The group said it had already consulted their lawyer to contest the issue and was also planning massive demonstrations to get its grievances addressed.

The MRW operators, who visited Daily Guide’s office to explain issues, include Abdul Rahman Yussif Ahmed, Mohammed Awal Umar, Reuben Neequaye, Bismark Osibeng-Aduonya, Richard Hammond, Harriet Commodore and Michael Sarpong.

Source: Daily Guide

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