THE House of Representatives has called for a proper account of births and deaths in Nigeria while proposing sanctions for the relevant stakeholders who fail to have the records registered and updated.
While urging the federal, state, and local governments as well as traditional and religious leaders to join in the sensitisation of the public on the importance of birth and death registration, the House specifically called on the Federal Government to conduct a study on effective penalties for parents who fail to register the birth of their children.
The House further mandated the Committee on Population and Information, National Orientation, Ethics, and Values to ensure compliance with the resolution.
The resolution was based on the motion moved by a member of the House, Bashiru Dawodu, from the Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency of Lagos, titled: ‘Need to increase awareness of birth registration in Nigeria.’
Moving the motion, Dawodu noted that the National Population Commission had only managed to register the birth of 57 per cent of children under the age of five, thus making it difficult for the government to plan adequately for their medical, nutritional, and other needs.
He also noted that the Federal Government needs to know how many health centres are needed in the country and the population growth across the country to correctly estimate the medications to be imported and the tariffs.
He said, “The House is concerned about how a country without credible statistics can progress as birth registration is the most basic requirement in planning for children.
“The House is worried that when a country fails to follow an established pattern, the young ones are exposed to dangers that the public health and economic planning teams cannot cope with.”
The lawmaker continued that knowing the age distribution of a country’s population makes it easier to plan, knowing how many would be of school age in what year, providing adequate classrooms and school infrastructure.
“The House is disturbed that after 60 years of independence, Nigeria still does not have a reliable census figure for its children,” he said.
Another member of the House, Chris Azubogu, called for the amendment of the motion to capture death registration, which the lawmakers unanimously granted.
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