The Federal government will digitise the civil registration and vital statistics process and is targeting the registration of 12.7 million under-five children in 2023, an official has said.
Matthew Sunday, the Director of Vital Registration Department, National Population Commission (NPC), said on Friday that with the digitisation, the commission plans to register 8.08 million children in 22 priority states and 4.6 million in other states.
Mr Sunday spoke in Lagos during the opening of a two-day workshop on the operational plans for digital birth registration in the state organised by NPC Lagos office in collaboration with United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
He said the digitisation would increase the percentage of children with birth certificates which is currently 33% – 63% in urban areas and 32% in rural areas.
“For us to have a complete registration of children, there must be certification and until one is issued a certificate, that is when we can say one has been registered,” he said.
Last week, the NPC and UNICEF announced the roll out of the digitisation process in Kano, targeting the birth registration of one million children in Kano.
Rahama Farah, UNICEF’s Kano Chief of Field Office, said the registration helps to protect children and their rights from birth.
“Most societies first acknowledge a child’s existence and identity through birth registration,” he said.
The FG’s birth registration efforts are now showing progress, with 57% of children under age five registered (about 19.6 million children), compared with only 47 per cent in 2016/17, according to UNICEF. Although national data reveal no gender disparity in these numbers, children are less likely to be registered if they live in rural areas or poor households.
At Friday’s workshop, Mr Sunday said only 33% of children in Nigeria actually have birth certificates, adding that birth registration data is critical to planning by any government.
“We will go on an aggressive social mobilisation in collaboration with stakeholders, especially the National Orientation Agency (NOA). A greater percentage of our population don’t know there is what we call birth registration,” he said.