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Only 30 percent of Nigerian children under five have birth registers–UNICEF

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Senator Iroegbu 

The UNICEF has said that Nigeria lags behind in birth registration with only 30 percent 9f Children under five registered at birth.

UNICEF Country Representatives Nigeria, Mr. Mohamed Fall, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the Dissemination Event on the Impact Evaluation Report of Birth Registration Programme in Nigeria.

Fall who was represented by the Deputy Representative UNICEF Nigeria, Pernille Ironside, said the event was to evaluate the impact of our work to increase birth registration in Nigeria. 

He warned that with the low registration rate, Nigeria may not make progress towards the achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 as such data is critical to monitor development index.

The statement read: “Birth registration – the official recording of a child’s birth by the government – establishes the existence of a child under law and provides the foundation for safeguarding many of a child’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that every child has the right to be registered at birth, without any discrimination.

“The recording of births – and deaths  – is essential for a modern administrative system. It helps to create an inclusive society, protecting human rights, ensuring proper delivery of public services and tackling inequalities.”

“A reliable and well-functioning civil registration system is also crucial for monitoring our progress towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

“And the vital statistics that we gain from a civil registration system provides critical, up-to-date and accurate population-based data that is disaggregated by sex, age and geographic location. This is essential for identify¬ing all groups in need and where we need to put our efforts and resources, to make sure no one is left behind.”

“It does this by helping us to monitor other targets of the SDGs that are related to health, food-secu¬rity, clean water, education, migration and gender.

“However, despite the clear importance of ensuring the registration of every child’s birth, the births of nearly 230 million children under the age of five worldwide have never been officially recorded. In Nigeria, only 30 percent of children under the age of 5 have had their births registered.”

“Birth registration is a critical part of UNICEF’s four pillars of child rights programming:  survival, development, protection and participation. To achieve birth registration for all children in Nigeria, UNICEF has been working with the Nigerian Government to address systemic bottlenecks that impede birth registrastion, with a view to achieving sustainable results for children.”

“We sought this independent impact evaluation of UNICEF Nigeria’s Birth Registration Programme because we wanted to know what worked – and perhaps what didn’t work as well – in our efforts to strengthen the birth registration system in Nigeria.

“What we found was that Nigeria’s rapid population growth requires stronger efforts to ensure that birth registration can keep pace with that growth – especially in the under-5 population.”

Fall said the finding points stakeholders in the right direction for our future work on this important issue – and the work to deliver results for children and change children’s lives for the better. 

In this year, he said, the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which calls for every child to have their birth legally registered, UNICEF firmly pledges its continued commitment to support inter-agency collaboration to achieve accelerated birth registration, so that no child is left behind.  

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