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UNICEF, NPC Canvass For Birth Registration

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The United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with National Population Commission (NPC), has solicited for effective birth registration system that is compulsory, universal, permanent and continuous which guarantees the confidentiality of personal data.

Making the case for sustained birth registration in Lagos, in partnership with NPC, the UNICEF Child protection specialist, Sharon Oladiji, said most people born in Africa die without leaving a trace in any legal record or official statistics, such as births, deaths and other vital events in between. Oladiji said that not leaving records through civil registrations render some people poor, invisible and marginalized, exposing them to exploitations and human rights violations which in turn limits their access to socio-economic benefits.

She noted that “child registration helps to provide legal and documentary evidence to certify a person’s existence, age, percentage, birth place and nationality enabling a  person’s eligibility for health care, admission into school, voting, obtaining a passport, employment, marriage” adding “It helps to check incidences of child abuse, child trafficking, early marriages, child labour, and unlawful detention”.

In a speech, NPC’s Assistant Director for VRD, Hafsatu Hussaini Isiyaku said the 2013 demographic health survey showed that birth registration of under-5 children in Nigeria is approximately 30 percent, while the remaining 70 percent remains unregistered and in legal terms, do not exist.

She said major reason for those children not registered is either due to ignorance of parents and care givers or the fact that most rural communities have no knowledge of birth registration.

“About 62 percent of birth occurred at home and only 35 percent of birth in Nigeria are delivered in health facility”.

Also speaking, Deputy Director, Head Advocacy/CRIB Child Rights Information Bureau Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Olumide Osanyinpeju, commended UNICEF for contributions, unending support and partnership with the federal government in ensuring that the Birth Registration programme is a success.

“In the same vein, I appreciate the Journalists for always working with us in the best interest of Nigerian children” he enthused noting that the need to give identity to every Nigerian child can never be over emphasized and this is a task that can only be achieved through birth registration.

“It is worthy to note, at this juncture, that it has really been an uphill task registering the birth of children in Nigerian States due to a host of unfavourable factors ranging from ignorance on the part of civil society on the importance of birth registration, the large number of babies delivered at home rather than in health facilities, to lack of manpower needed to register the births of most children”.

 



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