General News of Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Stringent steps should be put in place to prevent non-Ghanaians from having access to the national identity card or GhanaCard, the President of the Foundation for Generational Thinkers (FOGET), Mr Prosper Afetsi, has said.
He said proof of nationality should not just be by word of mouth but through scientific and systemic methods to eliminate non-Ghanaians’ names from our nominal roll.
“Reports of non-Ghanaians arrested overseas in possession of our international passports which they acquired with the collusion of fellow Ghanaians do not speak well of us as a country. Same might happen to the GhanaCard if stringent steps are not taken to ensure that only bona fide Ghanaians possess it,” a statement signed by Mr Afetsi said.
The NGO said its reasons stemmed from the threats of terrorism, especially on the West African coast.
It added that “it is, therefore, absolutely necessary that the authorities know about every citizen, where he or she resides and what he/she does for a living”.
He urged the government to fast-track the issuance of the GhanaCard with enhanced security features to ensure that each and every citizen was protected.
“We believe this is not too much a task for a government that is desirous of building a digital economy. FOGET, therefore, adds her voice for the issuance of identity cards or social security numbers for all citizens from the day of birth. The government’s introduction of the free senior high school programme is one other factor that makes the identity cards a must. This will ensure that it is only citizens, either through their own recognition in the system or the ability to identify their parents as citizens, will go through it to build a secure and safe Ghana for us all”.
The statement said the way foreigners and middlemen interfered in passport procedures and processes were indications that “the country’s security system is porous.”
Mr Afetsi said while Ghanaian citizens faced a lot of challenges and frustrations in acquiring passports as one of their rights, foreigners, through middle-men, acquired the passports and other national IDs with ease.
He indicated that the issuance and acquisition of nationality documentation – birth certificate and international traveling passport, have become so easy that other Africans arrested outside Ghana had been found to be in possession of those very vital national security documents.
“The inability of our system to properly document citizens from birth to death has made it possible for non-citizens to acquire such documents with the collusion of employees of these national agencies – Passport Office, Births and Deaths Registry and a host of others mandated to protect the security of the state,” he said.