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Many lived and died without leaving any legal trace of their existence – NPC

Nigeria’s National Population Commission (NPC) has lamented that  only 43 per cent of under-five children and 10 per cent of deaths are registered in the country, as  many people lived and died without leaving any legal trace of their existence.

The Executive Chairman, NPC, Alhaji Isa Kwarra said at a news conference to mark the celebration of the 2021 Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Abuja that “currently, only 43 per cent of under-five children are registered at birth and not more than 10 per cent deaths are registered in Nigeria.”

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Leadership for an essential service: building resilient Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems in Africa that provide innovative, integrated and decentralised services for the post COVID-19 period.”

Kwarra, who attributed the problem to geographic, cultural and traditional reasons, said that the commission was committed to digitisation and automation of CRVS for inclusive and accelerated development.

He said that the commission was working in line with the vision of Africa Programme on Accelerated Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics.

The chairman said that the broad objective of the plan was to enhance framework for actions and guidance for National, States, LGAs and community initiatives aimed at ensuring that all vital events were registered.

Kwarra said: “currently, the commission has 4,011 registration centres spread across 774 LGAs of the country.

“Outside these, the commission is also in serious collaboration with most health centres and local governments whose personnel assist our registrars in collecting information on deaths and births in their facilities.”

Mr Ibrahim Sesay, the Chief Child Protection, UNICEF, described birth registration as the child’s right to a name and identity that must not be denied.

Sesay said that birth registration was also the child’s right to development and protection.

He added that CRVS was essential for modern administrative systems, creating an inclusive society, protecting human rights, ensuring proper delivery of public services and tackling inequalities among other related issues.

He said that the UN was determined to collaborate with NPC in digitisation and automation of birth and death registration, adding that all Sustainable Development Goals were attainable using CRVS system.

Dr Ismaila Sulaiman, NPC’s Federal Commissioner, Kano, and Chairman of CRVS Committee, said that the objective was to inspire member states to quicken the implementation of the CRVS system in line with global practices. The CRVS, celebrated in 2018, is designed to create awareness on current and emerging population issues.

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