National Identity Cards: Zongo Communities Decry Discrimination

The Concern Zongo Citizens of Ghana are unhappy about the treatment being meted out to members of the Muslim communities across the country, When they go to register, or gets national identification documents like the Ghana card, Passports, Birth sets and any relevant document to prove their identity as Ghanaians.

The group are worried about the situation whereby Zongo natives been denied their rights to citizenship. These become especially apparent during registration exercises where local Communities were denied to register in some parts of the country.

Zongo group has asked the government to intervene and stop discrimination against people within Zongo communities in the acquisition of identity documents.

According to Concerned Zongo Citizens of Ghana, although a number of ethnic groups within Zongos have legal Ghanaian citizenship, they are perceived as aliens and allegedly denied these national identification documents.

Speaking at a press conference, the spokesperson of Concern Zongo Citizens of Ghana, Haruna Maiga, complained that “it is appalling that tribes such as Hausas, Fulanis… who have been in Ghana since pre-colonial times suffer such discrimination.”

“Getting an ECOWAS card, voter’s ID card, passport, and others to enable us to perform Hajj, for example, is a very difficult task for many of our people. It seems the 1992 constitution which guarantees the fundamental human rights of every Ghanaians does not apply to us,” he lamented.

According to Maiga, these concerns had persisted despite formal attempts at redress.“We have sent countless petitions to all those who matter to help stem the tide of discrimination against Zongo people in this regard, but the problems still persist,” he said.

“Ghana is our homeland. And we have no other homeland except this. We will continue to fight for our in unattainable rights enshrined in the constitution. We need your support and assistance. We shall not relent nor give up in this quest for equal rights. And Justice For All our people”, he added.

The group is calling on Government, Ministry of Communications and National Identification Authority (NIA ) to take the necessary actions gently in order to bring relief to the plight of many of Zongo people who are bonafide citizens of Ghana. Why are Zongo natives been denied their rights to citizenship?

The SIM registration exercise began on 1st October, 2021 and is expected to end on 315
March, 2022. As at 17th March, 14,091,542 SIM Cards have been linked to the Ghana Card,
10,348,532 Bio-Captures conducted and 99,445 New SIMs registered.

Many Ghanaians are currently registering for the Ghana Card as it slowly becomes the most important form of identification in the country.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization under the auspices of the Government of Ghana (GoG) says the ending date of the Sim card re-registration which commenced October 1, 2021, has been proactively extended.

Expected to end on March 31, 2022, the Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Madam Ursula Owusu Ekuful in a statement said the Sim card registration will now end July 31, 2022, nationwide.

“As of March 17, 2022, a total of 14,091,542 Sim cards have been linked to the Ghana card. 10,348, 532 bio-captures conducted and 99,445 new Sims registered,” the Digitalization Minister and Ablekuma West MP said on Tuesday.

Mrs Ekuful-Owusu Ursula said the decision to extend the Sim re-registration deadline follows the fact that over 7.5 million citizens and residents are yet to obtain their Ghana cards to enable them to register their Sim cards.

“More time will also be required to update the SIM Registration App for the registration diplomats while Self-Service Sim Registration App is also being developed to facilitate registration of Sim cards for Ghanaian residents abroad

“These issues make it imperative for the deadline to be extended to ensure that every eligible Sim card is captured and we produce a credible database by the end of the exercise,” the Communications Ministry statement explained.

Report by Bernard K DADZIE

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