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Citizenship For Sale To The Unqualified   
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There is a heightened demand for birth certificates. While some of the applicants are bona fide Ghanaians others, we are afraid, are not but only require the important document to lay claim to Ghanaian citizenship. Such persons were not born here and therefore use fictitious means to acquire the certificates which states otherwise.

With the national identification registration exercise about to gather momentum and birth certificates being one of the perequisites for the issuance of the Ghanacard many more persons qualified to acquire the document and otherwise would seek the birth certificates. The unqualified ones just want the birth certificates so they can outwit the registration officers.

Being also a perequisite for the acquisition of passports, many go for it for this purpose because the travel document qualifies for the acquisition of the Ghanacard. We are worried that non-Ghanaians are abusing the ease with which birth certificates can be acquired in the country.

In other countries, such as Nigeria and even the Francophone countries, such documents are highly protected and would hardly be issued to persons who are unqualified. We have a lot to learn from these countries in terms of the security of these documents and therefore keeping them away from unqualified persons.

We are aware about people lacing their boots to ferry in non-Ghanaians into the country with the intention of acquiring the birth certificate so they can register for the national identification card or Ghanacard and therefore vote in subsequent elections in Ghana.

The national health insurance card suffered a similar fate when Ivorians, Togolese and others raced to Ghana to acquire them. It took a Supreme Court verdict to stop the card from being used as a prerequisite for the voter’s card.

We have a very delicate issue in our hands and unless we act now and with precision alongside finesse, we stand the risk of losing the necessary security required in matters of national identification.

The Ghanacard is hinged on birth certificates and so when the acquisition of the latter is devoid of proper security and easily obtained by foreigners then the former is doomed.

So much money is being expended on the Ghanacard project that it would be unwise not to tighten the security of the prerequisite documents such as birth certificate and passport.

The heightened demand for the birth certificates has led to a business boom for middlemen at the offices of the birth and deaths registry.

We are by this commentary asking that the conditions for the issuance of the new birth certificates be such that they cannot be easily abused by unscrupulous persons.

In a country like Nigeria, proof of citizenship can be obtained from the offices of the relevant local government. Where need be, family heads must attest to the integrity of citizenship claims. We might have to fashion out something that would make it impossible for our citizenship to be acquired through money-seeking middlemen on the compounds of births and deaths registries.

Source: Editorial/Daily Guide

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