The National Population Commission in Gombe State has encouraged parents in the state to register their babies soon after birth, because of the various advantages attached to having a bir!th certificate.
The Head, Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, National Population Commission in Gombe State, Mr.
Adedeji Rufa’i Adeniyi, told journalists in Gombe that a birth certificate gives a child an identity, with which a government can plan with.
Adeniyi laments that statistics of the organisation revealed that the state still had a large number of children not yet registered and having a birth certificate.
“A birth certificate is the first official document any child should get.
And it gives you identity and when you have an identity, you can go into any sphere of life,” said Mr.
He encouraged parents in Gombe State to register the birth of their children in the 77 Registration centres scattered all over the local government areas of the state, located in health facilities.
Adeniyi, however, said the number was still not enough, but that the NPC was in collaboration with various organisations to bring the birth certificate registration process closer to the community.
“In some areas, when you give birth, just go to the mai’anguwa’s place.
They will get you your birth certificate.
We make it as close as it could be to the public,” said Mr.
He stressed that birth certificates for persons under 18 years of age were free, hence no one should pay for them.
In the meantime, Mr.
Adeniyi said the sum of 2 thousand naira was required for those seeking a birth certificate for those who never had a birth certificate or those with the old certificates not offered by the national Population commission.
“You will bring an affidavit to show that when you were born, your birth was not registered, or, if you have an old birth certificate that is not of the National Population Commission, you bring that or you swear an affidavit that you are over 18 years old.
Then you bring 2 thousand naira and you pay into a TSA Account,” Mr.
He said the government uses the data available for registered children to plan on the number of infrastructures to be allocated in a given area, such as how many blocks of building facility should be provided? How many teachers should be employed to take care of the school, in terms of education?
“A typical example, in community A, 20 thousand children were given birth to, 5 thousand were registered.
In community B, 10 thousand children were given birth to, 10 thousand children were registered.
What is the school-age of any child? It starts at 3 years old.
This means in the next three years we should be planning that all these five thousand children from community A and 10 thousand children from community B should be in school.
Let me come back to somebody that has 20 thousand children, but registered 5 and 10 thousand children that registered 10.
Who do you think the government is going to take care of more? The larger one.
But those with 20 thousand but registered 5 thousand children will start crying foul that they have more children than these 10 thousand people!” said Mr.
He said the NPC was in partnership and collaborating with relevant stakeholders, more so because it lacked the power to be everywhere, to reach people down at the grassroots and get children registered.
“So, our collaboration with Health is sound, our collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government is sound, our collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs, with Education, is sound.
And the traditional institutions we hold them in high esteem.
Last month, I just finished training some health workers and religious leaders.
We train and we pay them.
Supported by UNICEF.
We lack manpower, so we want to use every available legal way to capture a massive number of children not yet registered,” said Mr.
He said every child, whether registered at birth or not, would be counted but would be known by the government after being registered and issued a birth certificate.
According to Mr.
Adeniyi, the NPC was in the process of forming a database that would be accessed by any organisation requesting for any statistics in Nigeria, for survey or for any other use.
“We are the custodians of that data.
So, you have to come and meet us.
Okay, I want to carry out a survey on so, so age range of this particular set of where can I get that, we will tell you where you are going to get that.
We have the record,” Mr.
For death certificate, he said it was equally free, but had its own procedures for issuance.
He strongly advised the public not to pay any money for a death certificate because it was free in Nigeria.
Commission calls for birth registration in Gombe