Corporate Affairs officer at NIA, Henry Aboagye told TV3 that “I went there, the gate was opened around 7:30AM. There was a bit of a rush, a few people fell down but they were able to stop the rush and then those people were picked up, that was it. Nobody, to the best of my knowledge, has been sent to the hospital.”
He further appealed to applicants to be patient during the registration exercise.
“I will appeal with the applicants to be patient when they come here. The numbers are huge and we have expanded to accommodate all so they should cooperate with us, we will serve them,” he said.
Ningo Prampram Member of Parliament, Samuel Nartey George blamed the Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful for the stampede.
In the view of Sam George, the 31st March deadline given by the Minister for all SIM to be registered using the GhanaCard, has forced scores of Ghanaians to throng the premises of the NIA to get their SIM cards re-registered in order to avoid deactivation.
This situation, has led to tampering with national security installation since the offices of the NIA are considered to be national security zone.
Addressing a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday March 22, Sam George who is a member of the Communications Committee of Parliament said “Some very unfortunate incident has taken place early this afternoon at the offices of the National Identification Authority (NIA), the incident, one which should not had happened, was avoidable and has caused pain to citizens of the republic
“This afternoon, given the nature of work at the NIA and the fear in the minds of the ordinary Ghanaian based on the poorly thought through directive of the Minister of Communications that all SIM cards that were not registered will be deactivated on the night of the 31st of March, you have seen an increase in the numbers at the NIA office.
“Three weeks ago, when we went there, we saw closed to 5000 people there who were seeking to renew their cards. The NIA you must bear in mind is a national security installation and so you should not even have a 100 people on that premises at a point in time.
“That is where your entire country’s biometric data-based is sitting yet we have abused the national security status of that building, and the building has been treated like a market square.”
Sam George had earlier said persons who fail to re-register their SIM cannot have their cards blocked by the National Communications Authority (NCA).
He said any move to block the unregistered SIM cards will amount to an illegality, for which the government can be sued.
“It is hot air, it won’t happen, there is no law backing that,” Sam George told Johnnie Hughes on the New Day show on TV3 Monday, February 21.
“On the 1st of April people who have not registered will have their SIM cards. Ghana is not a banana republic,” he said adding that ” We will sue them and we will win the case.”
Meanwhile, the deadline for the SIM card re-registration has been pushed forward from 31st March to 31st July.
“More time will be required to update the SIM Registration App for the registration of diplomats, while a Self-Service SIM Registration App is also being developed to facilitate registration of SIM cards for Ghanaians resident abroad.
“This will be operational by mid-April,” a statement issued by Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said on Tuesday, March 22.