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Sale Of Birth Certificates Illegal -Rep



Lukman Amusa

The green chamber has  declared that collection of money from parents to obtain birth certificates for their children as illegal.

The chamber resolved to recover the money from the National Population Commission and the contractor engaged for its collection.

The move followed the adoption of a motion moved by a member, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, entitled, ‘Call on the National Population Commission to Discontinue the N4,500 Birth Registration Charge Under the Public-Private Partnership Arrangement for Birth Registration.’

Granting prayers of the motion, the lawmakers unanimously resolved to direct the NPC to discontinue the N4,500 birth registration charge by Socket Works Limited under the PPP “and return to their mandate of registering births and deaths in Nigeria at no cost to citizens as provided by law.”

The House also urged the Federal Government to ensure sufficient funding of ministries, departments and agencies to enable them carry out their mandates to meet current global standards and not resort to PPP arrangements which can be inimical to national interest.

While mandating the Committees on Population, Delegated Legislation, and Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation of the resolutions, the Majority Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, called for restitution and not just stopping the contract.

Gbajabiamila stated that money illegally collected should be returned and adequate sanctions be imposed on the erring parties. He prayed the House to mandate the committee investigating the matter to recommend whether to monies be remitted to government’s coffers or refunded to the applicants.

The prayer was unanimously granted.

Moving the motion, Onyejeocha stated that the birth certificates should remain free as was the practice. She queried the alleged secession of the function of the NPC to private partners, which said might have led to the monetisation of the duty.

She noted that with the high level of poverty especially in the rural communities, the price was exorbitant and would discourage the people from registering their children.

Commenting, Mr Chris Azubogu stated that birth registration is a social responsibility of government and a right of citizens, which should not be hindered by the new levy being charged by the NPC.

Also, Mr Edward Pwajok cited the relevant section of the Constitution as stating that birth registration should be free as long as the relevant information of birth is provided within 60 days of birth, after which a fine may be imposed. He, therefore, said the levy was illegal.