15th June, 2011
To combat the negative attitude of the people of the state in registering deaths and births, the Cross River State office of the National Population Commission has set aside the 17th through the 26th of June to conduct mop-up birth and death registration exercise in all parts of the state.
Barrister Harry Ezeoke, the Commissionâ€™s Federal Commissioner in charge of the Cross River State office, said in Calabar in an address to delegates at an awareness campaign workshop that the Commission is mandated by Act 69 of 1992 to establish and maintain machinery for continuous and universal registration of births and deaths throughout the Federation
He regretted that the Commission hardly meets this target owing to the attitude of the people who are often unwilling to provide the needed birth and death data.
Mr Ezeoke, who described civil registration as the continuous, permanent, and compulsory recording of information on vital events as specified by the enabling Act, said that data generated from such registration is used for population estimation and projection for analytical studies for planning, but the response of the people towards the exercise has been always poor.
He said to ensure effective coverage of the mop-up registration exercise in all nooks and cranny of the state during period, the local government chairmen in the state have provided at least one ad-hoc staff in each of the council wards to undertake the registration exercise for the commission. He said this is to ensure that the vast landmass of Cross River State is covered which was an arduous task for the Commission in the past owing to inadequate staff.
According to the National Population Federal Commissioner, the awareness campaign by the commission is to let the people in the state know that the registration of births is not for the purpose of birth control or other obnoxious purposes, but to ensure that everyone is catered for through adequate development of infrastructure like schools, hospitals, and provision of socials services by government.
Honourable Larry Odey, the speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, said the concept of national planning is based on human factor and the registration of birth is an intrinsic factor in enhancing effective national planning.
Odey, who was represented by Hon Uduak Akiba, the Whip of the House, said for the nation to provide effective education, medical services, and social infrastructure, â€œwe must know how many we areâ€.
He said owing to the low literacy rate, people shy away from registering their births that could give effect to social costing.
â€œRecording of birth is an exercise every Nigerian must take seriously. We in the Assembly gave legal backing and support to this exercise when we passed the Child Rights Act, and we are ready to do more to ensure we have accurate data to give room for effective national planning,â€ he said.
The Special Adviser to Senator Imoke on Economic Matters, Dr Ndem Ayara, said that in the near future, age declaration would no longer be a valid form of proving ones age and called on parents to avail themselves of the Vital Registration mop-up exercise and get their children registered.
ByÂ Emmanuel Una/ Calabar