The Federal Government of Nigeria has sought effective partnership with Enugu State government through the Ministry of Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development on the ongoing birth registration campaign in the state.
This development was disclosed, Tuesday, in Enugu when the Director of the National Population Commission, Mrs. Okolie Odinakachukwu, alongside her counterpart in the National Orientation Agency, Mrs. Ugwu Ifeyinwa, paid a working visit to the Commissioner of Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Ngozi Enih, at her Enugu office on how to strengthen the relationship between the state government and the two federal agencies.
Expressing concerns over poor data of birth registration in the state, Mrs. Okolie said the state had been selected as one of the pilot states in the federation in the ongoing birth registration drive sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
She noted that that registration of birth and issuance of birth certificates were vital not only for record purposes but for individuals seeking documentation, including those who wanted to travel outside the country.
According to her, in the ongoing birth registration campaign across the 17 local government areas of the state, children between the ages of 1 and 17 are issued with Certificate of Birth while those from the age of 17 and above are issued with Declaration of Age Certificates.
On her part, Mrs. Ugwu said the two agencies were poised to work with the ministry in order to penetrate members of the public on the need to come out en masse for the registration exercise, adding that the South East zone was not getting its full share in the national allocation because of the passive attitude of the people of the zone in terms of data.
She called on the commissioner to assist the agencies in the campaign, sensitization and mobilization of the people to utilize the window of opportunity open to them.
Responding, the commissioner commended the efforts of the agencies in ensuring that the right thing was done, saying that national birth registration register was vital to national planning in every nation.
The commissioner, while pledging to partner with the federal bodies to reach out to residents across the state, disclosed that the ongoing exercise was not well publicized as many were not aware of it.
Mrs. Enih, who said the office of the Deputy Governor had previously expressed worries over the lack of birth register, added that the Deputy Governor had proposed to convene a meeting that would involve stakeholders to look into the situation.
She further pointed on the need to take the sensitization campaign to markets, churches, hospitals, maternity centres, schools, among other public places, noting that her office would collaborate with relevant agencies to ensure that every child was properly registered and issued with certificates.
The commissioner also suggested the need for the primary commission to have desk officers in hospitals; both public and private, so as to ensure effective tracking of birth and immediate documentation.