The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with the National Population Commission (NPC) urged the media to educate the public about the importance of birth registration.
The NOA Director in Kaduna State, Zubair Galadima-Soba, made the call at a media briefing to launch community reorientation and grassroot dialogue on improved birth registration in Kaduna.
In the reorientation effort, NPC is to register children under five years in 30 communities in Jema’a, Kaduna South and Zaria local government areas of Kaduna State.
Galadima-Sabo said that the basic right of a child was to be registered at birth and should not be relegated, adding that NOA was set to support NPC to ensure that children were registered.
He added that the agency would engage traditional and religious leaders in sensitising parents at the grassroots to register their children.
He said “we plan to reach 1,800 families in the three local government areas and get 18,000 children registered.”
Alhaji Mohammed Durunguwa, an NPC Commissioner, who said that the media had a great role to play in sensitising Nigerians on birth registration, noted that “every child has the right to be registered so that his/her record can be traced and catered for by government.
“As long as you are born on Nigerian soil, you are supposed to be registered the day you were born.
“If you are not registered, it is like you don’t exist.
“Poor record of birth registration is prevalent at the grassroots; most local communities do not have birth registration records, hence the reason we are gathering here.”
Durunguwa said that the NPC had shifted from its analogue way of registering children to digital and had also employed more people to improve birth registration in Nigeria.
Earlier, Dr Willie Mamah, a Child Protection Specialist with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said birth registration was an important step in child protection.
Mamah said that a child citizenship might be contested and government would not be able to plan for children due to the lack of accurate data of registered births.
The grassroots sensitisation and registration will last for 10 days, with support from UNICEF and Kaduna State Government.