From Abiola Alo, Ado Ekiti
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been advised to make bone of the basic requirements to contest elective positions and eligibility of voters during elections in the country.
The National Population Commission (NPC), which gave the advice said such remains one of the ways to curtail age falsification among the citizens of the country.
The Commission harped on the need for Nigeria to have accurate population data to engender proper economic planning for the citizens.
NPC noted that the inaccurate data on Nigeria’s population has been hampering effective national planning saying efforts must be stepped up to ensure correction in national interest.
A Federal Commissioner in NPC, Hon. Lanre Fayemi, disclosed this in Ado Ekiti during the flag off ceremony programme for Birth Registration Media Campaign for citizens below age five, on Thursday.
Fayemi said a comprehensive birth registration system complements the nation’s census and surveys, which are important tools for monitoring the effectiveness and the implementation of many government policies particularly in the area of reproductive health.
He said statistics generated from the programme at the national, state and local government levels are used in evaluating some programmes of the three tiers of government.
“Birth registration will give our children an identity, as much as it is needed for school enrolment, voting and an opportunity for seeking gainful employment into government service, ascertaining the assurance of child’s existence opening of a bank account, collection of international passport and national identity card, among others”.
He said the commission has increased the number of registration centres to an average of three per local government throughout the 774 councils in the country for easy accessibility.
“We have also introduced payment of fee for late registration to encourage early registration.
It is designed to effectively address all previous misinformation and ignorance on the part of the public.
It will involve using radio and television jingles , community level meetings , discussion programmes in both print and electronic media.
“We must start by making sure that our children and wards are registered. Enrolment in schools, obtaining passports, opening bank accounts, participation in age group competitions, obtaining voter cards and eligibility to vote and be voted for should be effected on presentation of birth certificate”, he said.
“We want to discard the idea of issuing international passport with the use of court sworn declaration of age for children below age 18, this will make our parents to see birth certificate as a serious issue”, he said.
The Elemure of Emure Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel Adebayo and Olomuo of Omuo Ekiti, Oba Noah Omonigbehin, advised parents to key into the agenda of making possession of birth certificates for their children and wards a serious issue.