Stakeholders in the campaigns against extortion in the birth registration have reaffirmed that birth registration in Nigeria is free of charge.
This was one of the outcomes of a Town Hall meeting in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The National Population Commission, NPC, the National Orientation Agency and civil society groups, accordingly agreed to work under an Advocacy Technical Team to embark on a campaign to stop the collection of money from parents in the registration of children at birth.
The Community Town Hall Meeting was preceded by a Radio Town Hall which held at a private Radio Station in, Owerri and led by Executive Director of PRIMORG, Okhiria Agbonsuremi.
Participants were drawn from civil society organizations, faith and community based organizations, community leaders, youth and women organizations as well as representatives of the National Population Commission, NPC, National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, National Orientation Agency, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Imo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, ISPHCDA, and International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR.
A statement by Executive Director, PRIMORG, Agbonsuremi Okhiria, said among others, at the end of the meetings, “That inter-agency collaboration should be encouraged amongst identified agencies in the ongoing campaign against extortion during child’s birth registration in Imo State. There is a need for high powered advocacy visits to the governor to pronounce the exercise free in the state and to identify relevant agencies and community leaders for commitments by encouraging them to lend their voices to the fight against reported extortion. There is a need to embark on high-level statewide sensitization engagements and public enlightenment programmes.
“There is a need to create a channel(s) of communication that allow(s) people to report any act of extortion to NPC when committed by its personnel.”
There is a need for legislative advocacy to the National Assembly to push for repeal of the existing law that mandates a parallel registration by LGAs to prevent unnecessary overlaps and conflict presently created by the legislation. An Advocacy Technical Team made up of representatives of participating civil society groups and government agencies was accordingly set up to collaborate in the sensitization of parents not to pay for birth registration and birth certificates.”