The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has described the lack of awareness for birth registration as a setback to developmental planning in the country.
The minister made the disclosure on Wednesday in Lagos during a media dialogue on birth registration organized by UNICEF. He said there was a need to give identity to all Nigerians at birth to ensure adequate planning to enhance economic development.
Lai Mohammed who was represented by the Head, Child Rights Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information, Olumide Osanyipeju, said the need to give an identity to every Nigerian was a task that can only be achieved through birth registration.
He said: “It is an uphill task registering the birth of children in Nigerian states due to host of unfavourable factors ranging from ignorance on the part of civil society on the importance of birth registration, the large number of babies delivered at home rather than in health facilities, to lack manpower needed to register the birth of most children.
Mohammed explained that the low level and lack of awareness of the importance of birth registration has resulted in lack of planning for children and improper capturing of this most important segment of the society in developmental and social processes that affect them.
He said: “Workable solution to this general weak knowledge can begin right from the homes and communities and through a wide spread media campaign aimed at creating awareness at all levels of governance and the civil society.
“Improved partnership with healthcare sector could significantly enhance coverage of birth registration services and the filling of a large human resource gap in NPOPC,” he said.
He however urged the media to create massive awareness and enlighten people on the need for register the birth of their children, with the aim of tackling weak knowledge base on the importance of birth registration for national development.
On her part, Sharon Oladiji , Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF, identified the significance of birth registration to national development.
Oladiji querried, “How do you plan for the children that are born, how do you think of the medicals, vaccinations, immunization, school buildings, teachers, roads, communities, households, how do you plan?
“We find the weak knowledge base of the civil society, of parent or of caregivers, of important people, there is a serious weak knowledge base on the importance of birth registration on across the nation.