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The Chairman, National Population Commission, Eze Duruiheoma, says the commission has migrated from manual method of registration to full automation of vital registration and data storage processes system.

Duruiheoma said this at the maiden commemoration of Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day on Friday in Abuja.

He said the new system would guaranty facilitation and promotion of complete and prompt universal coverage of the country.

The theme of the event is: “Promoting Innovative Universal Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System for good Governance and Better lives”.

Duruiheoma explained that the choice of the theme was significant because civil registration had not enjoyed a pride of place in data generation in most African countries.

He recalled that civil registration in Nigeria started in 1963 with the promulgation of Ordinance No. 21, which provided for the registration of births, deaths, marriages and others in the Lagos Colony, which was later extended to villages such as Warri.

Duruiheoma stated that the commission had evolved an action plan to migrate from manual to full operation of electronic data under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to achieve the objective in line with global best practice.

According to him, the commission currently has over 3,600 registration centres and registrars in 774 local government areas across the federation involved in the registration of vital events of births, deaths and stillbirths.

The chairman however decried low registration coverage.

He said the capacity of the commission’s field registrars was currently being built in six states of Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Edo, Rivers and Kaduna to redress the situation.

Duruiheoma added that test-runs have commenced in FCT-Abuja and Lagos.

He also said that the CRVS required a massive sensitisation and additional human capital, among others, to ensure the success of the new paradigm.

The chairman therefore appealed to the Federal Government to increase the funding of NPopC in order to carry out its mandate effectively.

Besides, he appealed to Nigerians to seize the opportunity provided by the celebration which would be an annual event to ensure that all births and deaths that occurred in their families were registered and certificates obtained.

He noted that this would help to enhance effective planning and policy implementation in the country for the benefit of all citizens.

He commended development partners, including UNFPA, UNICEF, World Bank, Global Fund, International Organisation on Migration and Plan International of Canada for their sustained material and technical support.

The Country Representative of UNICEF, Mohammed Fall, noted that birth registration was a right of every child and stressed that no child should be left behind.

Fall also said that CRVS needed a holistic approach and a strong political will to achieve its mandate.

He further said that SDG goals could only be tracked by vital statistics, adding that having a cross data will help in achieving the desired targets.

He therefore commended NPopC on its progress so far and pledged to support the commission to harmonise and improve the CRVS, saying it is crucial for planning towards development.

Aliyu Abubakar, the Director-General, National Identity Management Commission, said that challenges had been identified and moving forward in bridging the gaps was the next step.

Abubakar called for strong partnership between the commissions in order to achieve desired results.

He therefore urged NPopC to cascade the next commemoration day to the states and local governments as a way of sensitisation on CRVS and its benefits to citizenry.

Dassagot Dashe, National Programme Officer, UNFPA, stated that CRVS would help in tracking progress on AU agenda 2063.

Dashe, however, advocated for harmonisation of data system done by all data generating organisations in the country to ensure effective and efficient management of data for national development purposes.

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