Hon. Mohammed Aliyu, a federal commissioner for the National Population Commission (NpopC) for Kano and Jigawa states, speaks about the danger of using sworn affidavit for teens. He also list the importance of birth registration and certificate in this interview with ISIOMA MADIKE
How has it been coordinating the states under your supervision?
It’s been interesting thus far and we thank God for that. Kano and Jigawa are almost like brothers and sisters. Jigawa is carved out of Kano; whatever is happening in Kano will most likely be the same in Jigawa. So, the two states are fairly easy to coordinate.
Birth registration appears to be the burning issues around the country now. What is the situation like in the states that you cover?
Well, the situation has improved, but more needs to be done. Sometimes, people are not aware, fully aware that this thing is going on. This is because of the level of literacy in our society; a lot of things will come and pass, people may not know. Like now, INEC has been extending the voter registering and so on. It’s because the level of awareness on that is not enough. This is why the media has enormous responsibility in this regard to help put the issue of birth registration to the consciousness of the generality of Nigerians. If we don’t register them when they are young, by the time they grow up, they may need that registration certificate. Whether, they are going into the university, they want to do passport, whatever they want to do, if there is need for any identity, birth certificate is essential. The interesting thing about it is that it is free, especially for ages 0-17 years.
Can sworn affidavit be used as an alternative?
You don’t need affidavit at 17 years of age and below. Even if you had one and lost it, you can still apply for reissue, which is still free. But once you are 18 and above, you might be required to pay a token for what is known as attestation, no longer the normal certificate. People who go for affidavit do that for fraudulent intentions. This is why we don’t encourage that.
There are those who are suggesting that hospitals should cease from issuing birth certificates. Do you align with this thinking?
In the first instance, hospitals or any other body are not permitted by law to issue birth certificate. In fact, what they are supposed to issue is identification notice. That is to show that the child was born there. The parents afterwards are expected to take the child to any NpopC office to properly register the birth. It is only NpopC that is recognised by law to issue birth certificates in Nigeria. Parents and people generally should never confuse the two documents. They are clearly different. The one from other sources is ceremonial while that of NpopC is legal.
How much of collaboration do you get from the local media in your states?
Fantastic; the media in the states I superintend is doing a good job. We pray that they continue this way. Honestly, we just have to synergise to achieve the set goals. We hope they would continue to work with us because birth registration is one issue that affects all of us. So, it should be our collective agenda to bring the news to the doorstep of all Nigerians.
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