United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), yesterday in Enugu enjoined mothers in the South-East geopolitical zone of the country to use the opportunity of ‘August Meetings–an annual returns by women, to boost their children’s birth registration. Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Enugu, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh, gave the charge in an advocacy meeting to boost birth registration in the state.
The meeting had in attendance, the first Lady of Enugu state, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, Wives of local government council Chairmen, officials of National Population Commission (NPC) and other women stakeholders.
Conteh stated that birth certificates are official recognition for identity which data would be used by the federal government for planning and allocations to states and local governments.
He also noted that a child’s birth certificate was the true testimony of his or her age in case of child offenders in case of conflict with the law, adding that the data was required for national planning and development.
The UNICEF boss, however, disclosed that the world body was working towards making it a compulsory requirement for school enrollment and urged all faith-based organisations and women groups to help sensitize families on the importance of registering their children at birth. Conteh said: “It’s an ethical and moral issue; it’s important that all
children are registered to have identity because you are not yet a citizen until you register. “It’s good that this is coming at this ‘August’ meeting, when you go back to the communities, spread the message. It’s a right of every child and we hope that the message will go down to the communities.”
Conteh was echoed by Mrs. Ugwuanyi, who pleaded with Women that as a follow up of the passage of Child Rights Law in the state, they should register their children.
“This is what we can do to help our communities, it’s a way of touching lives and any child you help will always remember you,” Mrs Ugwuanyi said.
Earlier, NPC’s state Director, Mrs. Ngozi Onyia disclosed that birth registration always took place in Health facilities where children were born, including NPC offices in the local government areas nationwide.
While noting that Enugu state was doing well in birth registration, Onyia said that while “birth and death registrations” had been tied to revenue figures but birth registration was particularly tied to census figure, noting that birth registration would always give a child political and economic
rights, procure international passports, give right to insurance claims, while government would use it to plan for children.