The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and National Population Commission (NPC) have rolled out birth registration of one million children in Kano in 2023 using the digital system.
Speaking at a two-day stakeholders engagement meeting on Digital Birth Registration in Kano on Thursday, the UNICEF’s Kano Chief of Field Office, Mr Rahama Farah, said the exercise targeted birth registration of one million children in 2023.
Represented by Mr Michael Banda, Officer-in-Charge, UNICEF, Farah said that the right to be recognised as a person before the law was a critical step in ensuring lifelong protection.
According to him, it’s also a prerequisite for exercising all other rights.
“Most societies first acknowledge a child’s existence and identity through birth registration. Birth registration, therefore, helps to protect children and their rights from birth, ” he said.
Farah added that Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which states that “by 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration” has placed birth registration firmly on the international development agenda.
The Chief Field Officer who said that relevant stakeholders were in synergy to achieve the goal, added that Nigeria made progress at birth registration, but a lot of work remained to be done.
According to him, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2021, about one in four births of Nigerian children aged under five years are not registered.
“MICS 2021 survey also shows that only 33 percent of these registered children have a birth certificate,” he explained.
Farah noted that UNICEF was supporting the Government of Nigeria through the National Population Commission (NPC) to explore innovative measures and strategies to ensure every child is registered at birth
He congratulated Kano State Government on attaining 55 percent birth registration coverage and pledged to work together to close the 45 percent gap.
The Chief Field Officer explained that the aim of the meeting with stakeholders was to enlist the support everyone to enable them meet their target.
He then restated UNICEF Nigeria’s commitment and support to the government of Nigeria through NPC in ensuring every child is registered and certified at birth.
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In a remarks, the Director of Civil Registration and Statistics, NPC, Mr Matthew Sunday, urged parents to ensure the registration of their children at birth.
Sunday said that any child that was not registered was lost ,stateless and vulnerable to child trafficking could be in conflict with the law and would be treated like an adult.
He explained that the exercise was vital and important to beginning of human development
The director restated the commitment of the commission to scale up the coverage because they were not where they wanted to be.
He urged relevant stakeholders to accord maximum support and cooperation to the exercise geared toward ensuring the success of the programme.
Earlier, the Emir of Gaya, Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim, said that birth registration was the first step toward establishing legal identity.
Represented by Dan-Madamin Gaya, Alhaji Abdullahi Nayaya, said that importance of registration included legal identity, planning and development.
The Emir who said that birth registration would solve many national problems, assured the success of the exercise in his Emirate and the state as a whole.
He commended UNICEF and NPC for organising the meeting.