The Executive Director of the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, Mr Agbonsuremi Okhiria, has urged the National Population Commission (NPC) to begin e-registration to curb the extortion of individuals in the birth registration process.
Okhiria spoke at a press conference organised in collaboration with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) to mark the 2019 International Anti-corruption Day in Abuja yesterday.
"Extortion of money by birth registration officials across the country has prevented a large number of births from being registered. This has further hampered appropriate record keeping for the actual number of births recorded in the country in a year," he said.
The Executive Director, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Mr Dayo Aiyetan, said an investigation by the ICIR revealed that the task of documenting the birth of Nigerian babies has been taken over by touts and profiteers who collect dubious fees from unsuspecting parents.
He said birth registration is free in Nigeria, and it is the responsibility of the National Population Commission (NPC) to keep the birth record as it keeps death records because both are important for national planning.
"A UNICEF report stated that waiver of fees collection was made in Nigeria due to low birth registration, adding that children from poor and uneducated parents living in urban slums and far-flung rural communities may not pay to register," Aiyetan said.