The United Nations Children’s Fund has said that less than 50 percent of children under five years in Nigeria were registered at birth.
In a statement released by UNICEF, it said children in Africa have the lowest birth registration rate globally, with Nigeria accounting for 11 percent of the rate in West Africa.
The UN body said birth registration is a one-off event that gives every child a “unique identity which will give them better access to vital services like health, education, and social protection”.
“In Nigeria, more than 50% of the births of children under 5 remain unregistered. Globally, the births of 166 million children under 5 have never been recorded,” it said.
“Children on the African continent have the lowest birth registration rate in the world, with only 44 percent of children registered at birth and millions of deaths also go uncounted each year. Nigeria alone accounts for 11 percent of unregistered children in West Africa.
“As Nigeria joins the rest of the World in commemorating Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day today, it is addressing structural, normative and operational challenges to birth registration.”
The UNICEF Nigeria country representative, Peter Hawkins requested that the federal government ensure legal identity for all including birth registration by 2030 in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 16.9.
“Every child counts – and we must ensure that we count every child so that they can best benefit from important services like health and education.
“We need to work together to ensure effective coordination to make this happen. Functional systems that allow for the sharing of data across information management databases that are integrated with other vital services are necessary to push the birth registration rate in Nigeria up, and make sure every child is counted”, Hawkins said.