Birth Registration: Our Plan Is To Register One Million Children By 2019 – NPopC

With about 70 percent of children in Nigeria not having their birth registered, the National Population Commission (NPopC) Lagos state, has pledged to meet one million birth registration target before the end of 2019.
The Deputy Head of Director (HOD), Vital Registration Department, NPopC, Lagos state, Nwannkwu Ikechukwu who disclosed this at a two-day media workshop on the need to scale up birth registration in Lagos, organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Lagos state, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in Oyo State, said from the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2013) data, 70 percent of children in Nigeria do not have their birth registered.
Sharon Oladiji Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF,  making a presentation during a session at an ongoing media dialogue on "Promoting Birth Registration in Lagos and Western State of Nigeria," holding at Ibadan, Oyo state.
To achieve free and universal birth registration, she said formulating and enacting laws, policies and standards-dealing with two parallel and competing, birth registration systems, improving service delivery identifying barriers, encouraging innovation, forging community based-approaches.
When a child is not registered, there is no official record of his/her full names, says Ikechukwu, adding that he/she will not have access to basic services.
To scale up birth registration in Lagos state, Ikechukwu said there are 122 birth registration centers in the state, adding that the commission plans to create additional 26 centers. “Another six centers will be created in Alimosho due to its large population,” he added.
At intervals, birth registration mop-up, an active form of registration whereby ad hoc registrars are mobilized to go from house to house to canvass birth registration, are embarked upon to register the births that are probably not registered during normal registration, says the deputy HOD.
“Mop-up has really helped to capture the children living on the water in order to boost registration of birth and get wider coverage. The intervention of UNICEF to scale up Birth Registration in Lagos State cannot be overemphasized,” he added.
Despite the achievement in Lagos state, Ikechukwu said NPopC Lagos state, is still confronted with a myriad of challenges like lack of suitable offices for comptrollers and registrars; touting of birth and death certificate; the unhealthy rivalry between Lagos state council staff and NPopC registrars.
Others are late registration, ignorance, illiteracy, lack of awareness, analog method of registration, and demand for money registrars before issuing birth certificate, attitude of NPopC staff insufficient workforce and resources, few registrars covering very large areas/catchment areas, lack of public awareness on the importance of birth registration and social and cultural beliefs that perpetuates non registering of birth-death.
He, however, pleaded with the state government to employ more ad hoc registrars, to enable the commission to cover more areas, especially in hard to reach communities within the state.
Similarly, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Sharon Oladiji says about 1,436,896 children, representing 31 percent of children under age five in Lagos state are not registered at birth.
In 2017, She said the worst-performing LGAs in Lagos state are Mushin with 16 percent, Apapa with 26 percent, Ajeromi/Ifelodun with 26 percent while in 2018, the worst performing LGAs are Ajeromi/Ifelodun with 34 percent, Lagos mainland with 36 percent and Mushin with 41 percent birth registration.
Oladiji said the consequences of weak birth registration systems are incapacity to generate relevant public health data and national estimates and population planning; poorly functioning civil registration directly affects the exercise of basic human rights.