The United Nations Children Fund, has decried the poor rate of birth registration in Nigeria, stating that over 50 percent of children under the age of five in Nigeria are not registered during child birth.
The disclosure is coming as Nigeria joins the rest of the world in commemorating the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day today.
In a report issued on Tuesday, UNICEF stated that Nigeria accounts for 11 per cent of unregistered children in West Africa.
UNICEF noted that Nigeria lags behind in birth registration which gives every child a unique identity to have better access to vital services like health, education, and social protection.
“In Nigeria, more than 50 per cent of the births of children under 5 remain unregistered.
“Globally, the births of 166 million children under 5 have never been recorded.
“Children on the African continent have the lowest birth registration rate in the world, with only 44 per cent of children registered at birth and millions of deaths also go uncounted each year,” it stated.
The UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Peter Hawkins said that measures must be put in place to ensure that every child count.
According to him, ensuring that every child has a right to a name, a nationality and a legal identity, is critical in bringing Nigeria to meeting its Sustainable Development Goals.
“Every child count 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,” he said.