© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Plans to start electronic birth registration ongoing, says NPC boss
BELLO Suleiman Yahaya, National Population Commission Territorial Director on Monday has appealed to vital registration field registrars to desist from extorting nursing mothers and unsuspecting members of the public who apply to register the birth of their children.
In an engagement with the group at NPC office in Abuja, Yahaya said that plans for an e- registration platform in the commission are well underway.
He said regardless of the inadequacy of the commission due to lack of funds and facilities to fully carry out its functions, birth registrars should conduct themselves properly in public.
“We pray that sooner than later the commission will be able to do something about this registration, we hope to see a transmission from analog to e- registrations very soon. It is a project that is especially personal to me. We want to ensure that contact during the registration process is limited, as a means of ensuring that these actions by certain persons within the commission would be limited.
“Always know that the publics’ eye is on you. There is no utopia society without corruption, however, when it has to do with the NPC, the agency will do its part in seeing that the culprits will be punished.
“Please birth certification for persons under 18years is free, do not collect a dime from anyone
“Issuance of birth certificate twice is unlawful. It is only allowed if, there is a reasonable error on the original certificate, but then the issued document has to be retrieved in place of another, otherwise it is the issuers’ funeral.”
Yahaya admonishment came after The ICIR’s investigation where it was revealed that birth registration was low in the Imo and Rivers States due to extortion by NPC officials.
Aisha A. Adamu, NPC, AMAC Area Council Chairman during the workplace engagement also attested to extortion by officials in the commission, although she said it was a situation that can be handled if proper plans were put in place for the field agents.
“During a training for the field registrars, I had to facilitate the feeding arrangement for my officials from my own purse just to get the programme going and if there is anything anyone here would tell you I always say is that –any action you take out there in the public that is against what this commission is set up for and you are caught, you only have but yourself to blame.
“If I tell you that there is no corruption or extortion ongoing during the registration by some unruly officials, then I am lying, “she said.
Although it would seem the new initiative for electronic registration in the commission could be the best thing to happen to it yet, some of the officials actually frown on this proposed idea.
Since The ICIR investigation, there have been calls for reforms in the sector and collaborations between Civil Society Organisations, the commission and state government to ensure accurate documentation of births.