From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri
The National Population Commission (NPC) on Monday lamented that only 57 per cent of under-five Nigerians were registered during the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey by the NPC.
The remaining 43 per cent of Nigerian children under the age of five, he said, were not registered and as such were, in legal terms, not existing in the country.
The commission said this and Nigerians’ apathy towards registration of death had combined to make statistics needed for national planning and development impossible to collate.
The Chairman of the NPC, Mr. Eze Duruiheoma, said this while delivering a keynote address at the Orientation Workshop on Birth Registration Messaging in Kaduna, an NPC programme sponsored by the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF), in Maiduguri, on Monday.
He said, “In Nigeria, according to the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey, birth registration of under-5 children is 57 per cent, while the remaining 43 per cent remain unregistered and in legal terms do not exist.”
The NPC chairman, who was represented by the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Simon Otene, said the reason for this was the ignorance of mothers and caregivers on the importance of registering the births of their new born babies and obtaining certificates as evidence.
“The problem is compounded by the fact that three in every five births (62 per cent of all births) occur at home and only 35 per cent of births in Nigeria are delivered in health facilities.
The representative of UNICEF at the workshop, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, said the international agency was working with the media to educate Nigerians on birth registration.