The Federal government, has stressed the need to give identity to all Nigerians at birth, to ensure adequate planning and to enhance economic development.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed who stated this in Lagos, described the lack of awareness for birth registration as a setback to developmental planning in the country.
Mohammed who made the disclosure on Wednesday, during a media dialogue on birth registration organized by UNICEF, said the need to give an identity to every Nigerian was a task that can only be achieved through birth registration.
Represented by the Head, Child Rights Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information, Mr. Olumide Osanyipeju, the Minister explained that the low level and lack of awareness of the importance of birth registration has resulted in lack of planning for children and improper capturing of this most important segment of the society in developmental and social processes that affects them.
According to him, “It is an uphill task registering the birth of children in Nigerian states due to a host of unfavourable factors ranging from ignorance on the part of civil society on the importance of birth registration, the large number of babies delivered at home rather than in health facilities, to lack of manpower needed to register the birth of most children”.
He further noted that “Workable solution to this general weak knowledge can begin right from the homes and communities and through a wide spread media campaign aimed at creating awareness at all levels of governance and the civil society.
“Improved partnership with healthcare sector could significantly enhance coverage of birth registration services and the filling of a large human resource gap in NPOPC,” he said.
The Minister, however urged the media to create massive awareness and enlighten people on the need to register the birth of their children, with the aim of tackling weak knowledge base on the importance of birth registration for national development.
On her part, a Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF, Sharon Oladiji, identified the significance of birth registration to national development.
Oladiji said, “How do you plan for the children that are born, how do you think of the medicals, vaccinations, immunization, school buildings, teachers, roads, communities, households, how do you plan?
“We find the weak knowledge base of the civil society, of parent or of caregivers, of important people, there is a serious weak knowledge base on the importance of birth registration on across the nation” she ended.