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Birth Registration: Emir Argungu agitate for traditional rulers involvement for accurate data

From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi

The Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammed Mera has advocated for the usage of traditional rulers across Nigeria to get authentic birth registration needed for national planning.

Mera stated this in Birnin Kebbi during the kick-off of the UNICEF state-level operational plans for birth registration with stakeholders, drawn from various organisation

The Emir who spoke on a topic, titled “Effective ways to reach communities on birth registration”, noted that traditional rulers are trusted and revered, and knew their people, and their boundaries, and if the National Population Commission (NPC) engaged them, they would secured accurate data.

According to him, “As shown earlier in this presentation Birth Registration is not a new program. It has been an instrument used by leaders from time immemorial as a foundation for planning and development.

“With the increase in population and demands for adequate and proportionate planning for all sectors of human development, it is imperative that authorities deploy effective strategy to capture every birth and death in a register.

“This calls for the engagement of a structure that’s respected, trusted, recognised and embedded in all targeted communities. In Nigeria, only the traditional and religious leaders institutions personify these descriptions.

“The traditional and religious institutions are the oldest institutions anywhere in the world. In Nigeria, the institutions are much older than the Nigerian state. It is present everywhere and has remained the first contact with state authority in most rural communities. It is trusted and respected, its leadership is revered and functional in every community no matter how small and remote.

“The structure of traditional and religious leaders’ organisation is a simple one with a straight line organogram. It operates top-down for directives and bottom-up for reporting. Every city, every town, every village, every hamlet and settlement are covered under the structure. There are no open spaces or “no man’s land” under traditional leadership. Every leader knows his boundary and who to report to. This arrangement is centuries old and still respected despite modern political boundaries. The traditional and Religious Leaders in this structure are always present on the seventh day when a child is named.”

The emir requested that the traditional rulers should be the point of contact on birth registration said, they have their Chiefs, and subjects in rural areas, Wards, Local Government Areas and in various cities where government officers could not reach.

“We recommend that the NPC and all stakeholders in this important program should try to use this structure and its personnel for the collection of first basic information such as Name, Date of Birth, Place of Birth and Name of Parents of a newborn child which can be collated at district level (Political Ward) and submitted monthly to Local Government relevant office for submission to State NPC office,” he said.

Earlier, the National Commissioner of NPC, Dr Haliru Bala Jikan-Daudu, represented by Mr Ahmed Muhammed, explained that the purpose of the programme was to ensure that there are accurate data for NPC.

He said: “In this rapidly changing world, where information is key and accurate data is the foundation of progress, civil registration and vital statistics hold immense significance. They not only serve as the cornerstone for individual legal identity and the protection of human rights but also play a pivotal role in shaping national policies, decision-making processes, and development strategies.

“Today marks a significant milestone as we embark on a journey to modernise and streamline our civil registration and vital statistics processes through the integration of cutting-edge technology. The eCRVS system will revolutionise the way we record and manage crucial information related to births, deaths, marriages, and other vital events within our jurisdiction,” he said