The National Population Commission (NPC) says it’s exclusive constitutional role to issue birth and death certificates to Nigerians, either at birth, or on request in adulthood, including deaths.
According to the commission, any other organs or arms of government, especially the Local Governments, performing such role, are only usurping it’s powers.
This is just as the commission dismissed insinuations in some quarters, suggesting that the proposed 2023 census exercise, was deliberately designed by the federal government to coincide with the coming general elections, for political reasons or gains.
The federal commissioner of NPC representing Ekiti, Ayodeji Ajayi made the clarifications known to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.
He spoke at a briefing, to commemorate the celebration of the 2022 Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS), , with the theme: “Harnessing Coordination Country Leadership and Ownership to Strengthen Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System – A vehicle for Counting Everyone”.
According to him, it is only the certificate, obtained from the offices of the commission across the country, that is is legal and acceptable.
Ajayi, a former Ekiti State Head of Service, (HoS), called on Nigerians to therefore desist from patronising such other places, in their own interest.
He said wrong places of contacts by many Nigerians in the past, had led them into being turned back at Embassies or deported from overseas countries, once authorities discovered that such vital documents were not obtained from the population Commission which they recognised, in countries.
Represented by the NPC Ekiti State Director, Mr Samuel Adeyanju ,who also doubles as the Zonal Director, in charge of Ekiti, Ondo and Osun States, the federal commissioner, said the commission was committed to ensuring effective data gathering for the use of government , organisations, and interested individuals at any given time.
He explained that it was important for the people to embrace what he called , “ timely registration of vital events , particularly births and deaths , through well-functioning civil registration systems”, rather than waiting till when they grow old and in urgent need of such documents, to avoid falling into the hands of touts or fake issurers .
He said the ongoing review of the current Births and Deaths Compulsory Act 1992, when completed would help to centralise the registrations, and legally removed the local governments from issuing certificates to the people.
He said in line with the theme of this year’s celebration, the NPC had mapped out strategies, aimed at further educating and enlightening Nigerians, on the basis of all aspects of civil registration and vital statistics, a Ross it’s operational systems.
“ Part of the crusade, is letting our people know that the birth certificate from the local government areas is not acceptable, and that people should know that it is only the NPC that is saddled with the responsibility of giving people birth and death certificate.
“We have offices in the entire 774 Local Governments in Nigeria, and about 91 offices across Ekiti alone, for people to go an obtain the certificate at no cost if you are under 18. Going to other illegal places, out of desperation will cost you money, and yet such certificates will be rejected at the end of the day if not authenticated by the NPC which is globally recognised.
” Any individuals below 18 years old should go to our offices in their respective Local Government Areas, as well as approved health centers, while those above 18 will be required to come down to our headquarters”, he said.
On the CVRS day celebration, the commissioner said the theme of this year’s celebration, across many African countries, was apt, in a bid to strengthen collaboration with critical stakeholders for civil registration and vital statistics systems.
He reiterated the commitment of the commission to the successful conduct of the population census in 2023 , soliciting the supports of stakeholders in the country, towards delivering acceptable and detailed census next year.
“ By setting aside one day of the year as Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day, we are saying that civil registration (deaths & births) process, with specific focus on birth and death registration, especially of new-born children, must get the attention it deserves.
” This will act as a demonstration of Nigeria’s commitment, at the country level, and we are committed to taking the nation’s civil registration system to a higher level.
“ As we celebrate this year’s CRVS day, it needs to be restated that vital registration is not only important to the individual to achieve full legal status, it is, equally significantly, a veritable source of statistical data for effective planning for sustainable national development”, he said.
Continuing, Ajayi added, saying ” It is our expectation that data generated from the forthcoming 2023 Population and Housing Census, will provide a platform for a sound CVRS system in Nigeria.”