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General News of Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Biometric scanners don't cause erectile dysfunction - EC

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Electoral Commission (EC) have debunked rumours that scanners for the biometric voters registration can cause cancer or erectile dysfunction.

According to the two bodies, the scanners, which will be used for biometric registration, would be similar to the ones used at the various international airports, such as the Kotoka International Airport, the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.

They have also been used by institutions such as the National Identification Authority and the Passport Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collect electronic fingerprints of Ghanaians acquiring national identity or biometric passports without posing any health hazards to the applicants.

The assurances came against the background of rumours that the scanners could cause cancer and erectile dysfunction. Dismissing the rumours, the Deputy Chairperson of the NCCE, Madam Augustina Akumanyi, said the biometric voters registration exercise carried no health implications.

According to her, there were rumours circulating that one would contract cancer, particularly women, while the men could experience erectile dysfunctional and called on Ghanaians to discard such information and come out in their numbers to register when the exercise began in March 2012.

Madam Akumanyi was addressing a durbar in honour of the Leader of Delegation of the European Union in Ghana, Mr Claude Maetern, at Kpongu in the Wa municipality in the Upper West Region yesterday.

She said there were no fears about the biometric registration and that she herself had undergone that process when she acquired a new passport.

“It is a brand new register, since the old one will be discarded. Forget about the old voters identity card, as it will not be accepted, come election day,” she added.

She called on Ghanaians not to panic, as pertained in some countries, because at the end of the day, “Ghana must win the elections but not any individual”.

She thanked the EU for its continuous support to the NCCE and expressed the hope that it would go a long way to improve voter education in the country.

For his part, Mr Maetern commended Ghana for being a champion in democracy and a leading example in sub-Saharan Africa and the continent as a whole.

He said it was very important that Ghana had the biometric register in place, so that at the end of the day, the vote of Ghanaians would be their power.

The Chief of Kpongu, Naa Seidu Braimah Kube I, was happy that the community was devoid of any chieftaincy or political conflict and that it had a vibrant youth and a very large voter population.

He, therefore, appealed to the EC to increase the number of polling stations to four instead of the current two to avoid the usual overcrowding associated with elections in the community.

A senior official of the EC has confirmed assurances from the NCCE that the scanners that would be used for the biometric registration would not be different from those used at the various international airports such as the Kotoka International Airport.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra Tuesday, the official said the scanners had never been causes of cancer and erectile dysfunction, adding they had always been used at the airports to collect information on people leaving and entering a particular country.

Meanwhile, the EC is to conduct pilot biometric registration exercises in two constituencies in each of the 10 regions in the country, reports Nana Yaw Barimah from Kumasi.

One of the constituencies will be rural and the other urban.

The one-day national exercise, which is expected to take place before the end of this month, will help the EC to be abreast of the challenges associated with the biometric exercise and how to deal with them before the main exercise starts.

The Ashanti Regional Electoral Officer, Mr Samuel Tettey, made this known at a meeting of political parties organised by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah.

Mr Tettey said the pilot registration exercise would be conducted at Manhyia and Atwima-Kwanwoma in Ashanti Region.

The regional electoral officer and his two deputies, Mr Isaac Owusu and Mr Sarpong, took the participants through the processes of biometric registration and offered the opportunity to them to ask questions.

The Ashanti Regional Minister had earlier, in his welcoming address, assured the participants that the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) would maintain law and order during and after the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.