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UNICEF laments invisible children in Nigeria, only 57.3% registered at birth



The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has expressed sadness that only 57.3 percent of Nigerian children have successfully been captured on electronic birth registration.

In light of this, the fund raiser concerns that despite millions of new deliveries in the country daily, millions of newborns and those under five are being denied the right to be captured on national registration.

Chief UNICEF Field Officer, Kano office, Mr. Rahama Rihood Farah, gave the numbers on Friday at a media dialogue on Birth Registration organized by the fund in collaboration with the National Population Commission (NPC) in Kano.

Mr. Farah disclosed that available records projected a population of 7,465,417 million children below one year and 35,597,131 million under-five children by the end of 2023.

He expressed concern that despite the critical need for birth registration to economic planning, millions of Nigerian children are being left out.

The UNICEF boss therefore insisted that if Nigeria must meet SDG 16.9, concerted efforts must be made to deal with outstanding barriers that have restricted universal birth registration.

He added that Birth registration is a significant right that the Nigerian government has covenanted to accord her children to dispense policy and plan for the future.

To harness the potential significance of birth registration, the UNICEF field officer said the fund is supporting the efforts of multi-sectoral partners in scaling up birth registration coverage in Nigeria and investing in safe and innovative technology to facilitate birth registration in Nigeria.

He urged media participants drawn from Kano, Jigawa, and Katsina States to help promote and create awareness on birth registration through their news stories, features, and programs on all media platforms.

State director, National Population Commission (NPC), Alh. Ismaila Hassan Dogo disclosed that the commission targeted one million children on its electronic birth registration in Kano before the end of 2023.

Although the director pointed out the frantic efforts of the commission to meet its target with 236 registration centers across the 44 local government areas of the state, he lamented inadequate manpower and lack of awareness among major predicaments confronting the exercise.

Communication officer, of UNICEF, Kano office, Mr. Samuel Kaalu, stressed that the essence of the media dialogue was to keep journalists abreast of the significance of e-birth registration.

Mr. Kaalu said the media practitioners, at the end of the dialogue, are expected to educate Kano residents on the significance of the exercise and the need to register their children with the National Population Commission (NPC) recognized under the law to carry out the exercise.

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