Source: International Centre for Investigative Reporting
By Adetola BADEMOSI
Birth registration is the first step towards recognising a child’s inalienable right as a human being, but unfortunately, statistics have shown that Nigeria is still grappling with achieving universal registration of births. In this part two of the series on Birth Registration, Adetola BADEMOSI investigates how officials of the National Population Commission (NPC) have contributed to low birth registration in the country, particularly in Abuja and Lagos.
“MADAM, you will pay o. Is there anything that comes free in Nigeria?” a receptionist at a popular hospital at Ogba, Ojodu Local Government Area of Lagos State, told Sunday Tribune during an undercover investigation on registration of new births in Lagos.
Although the receptionist, a lady, claimed not to be directly in charge of birth registration, she said: “A government official from the local government office comes to the hospital periodically, especially during immunisation days to register babies. You can come with N1000 when you are ready; come very early.”
Birth registration is supposed to be free in Nigeria. But in most parts of the country, this most important task of documenting the birth of precious new citizens of Nigeria has been taking over by touts and profiteers who collect dubious fees from unsuspecting parents.