Thursday, December 13, 2018

Reps Condemn Sale Of Birth Certificates, Orders Population Commission To Make Refunds

 The House of Representatives has declared as illegal, payment of money to the National Population Commission (NPC) to obtain birth certificates for newborn babies.

The House made the declaration when it passed a resolution on Wednesday during plenary after adopting a motion brought under matters of urgent national importance by Nkiru Onyejeocha (Abia, APC).

Daily Trust newspaper had published a report that the NPC was frustrating birth registration by charging applicants N4500 before issuing them birth certificates.

According to the investigation which Ms Onyejeocha cited, the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) factsheet on birth registration in Nigeria reveals that about 70 per cent of the seven million children born annually in the country are not being registered at birth.

The lawmakers while adopting the motion unanimously resolved to direct the NPC to discontinue the N4,500 birth registration charge by Socket Works Limited under the PPP “and return to its mandate of registering births and deaths in Nigeria at no cost to citizens as provided by law.”

Ms Onyejeocha in her motion stated that the birth certificates should remain free as was the practice before.

She queried the abdication of the function of the commission to private partners, which may have given rise to the monetisation of this critical function.

She said given the poverty level in especially rural communities, the price is exorbitant for rural people and is tantamount to asking the people not to register their children.

The lawmaker reminded members that the Act stated that compulsory birth registration is free and the Act has not been amended.