By Adekola Afolabi
The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the National Population Commission (NPC) in Ondo state will soon begin the conduct of electronic birth certificates registration across Ondo State.
UNICEF representative from Abuja, Mrs Sharon Oladiji, who revealed this during an advocacy campaign visit to the Ondo State Chairman of Council of Obas and Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba (Dr) Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo in his Palace, described digital birth registration and National Identification Number (NIN) as very vital for effective national planning and child’s development.
She particularly solicited the support and cooperation of traditional rulers, community leaders, the media, local government officials and other relevant stakeholders to assist in mobilizing the people for a smooth conduct of the exercise which would commence next month September after the advocacy campaigns.
The UNICEF representative disclosed that children between the ages of zero and seventeen years (0-17) would be captured free of charge during the exercise to mop up the backlog of unregistered children in the state.
According to her, Ad-hoc staff to carry out the exercise across the 18 local government areas have been trained ahead of the exercise, just as she encouraged parents and guardians to make their children available for the capturing.
She hinted that, in legal terms, a child that is not registered is not existing as there will be no data showing his/her existence. All political wards, communities and local government headquarters will be used as registration centres.
“We are supporting NPC to register all births in Ondo state, in every ward, in every community, in every local government, because of the benefits and importance of registering children.
“So, when you register at birth you will have the data, you have the population and then you can plan. It is for development, it helps in education, it helps in social services, it helps in employment and everything. So when you give birth certificate to a child you are registering that child from birth, and you are monitoring the process and the development of that child”, she added.
She acknowledged the influence of the traditional rulers on their subjects and the residents across their domains, disclosing that over 20,000 babies are born daily while 7.5m are born annually in the country.
The Federal Commissioner representing Ondo State in the National Population Commission (NPC) Dr. Diran Iyantan, who appreciated the Deji for his support at all times, urged parents and guardians to make their NIN available to facilitate proper registration of their children.
The Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, while welcoming the team and acknowledging the importance of birth certificates, promised necessary support to achieve the desired results, just as he donated an office at the palace for the exercise.