Wednesday 8 November 2023

As FG Launches the Birth, Death, Marriage Registration Portal: P-BAT Academics & Professionals Say More Needed To Be Done


The National Security, Defence, and Communications Cluster of the P-BAT Academics & Professionals among other proposals, emphasized the necessity to reform and upgrade our Civil Registration System as part of a national security concern in one of the Group mini-Summit series. 

As a result, we were delighted when Nasir Isa Kwarra, Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), stated at a media briefing that President Bola Tinubu will unveil the eCRVS and Geospatial Data Repository on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to the Chairman, "all civil registrations such as birth registration, stillbirth registration, birth attestation, adoption, marriage notification, divorce notification, migration, and death" will be included in the eCRVS.

For long, Nigeria like most African countries has incomplete and inadequate civil registration systems, with the implication that millions of people are invisible and unaccounted for. In addition to the grave threat, it poses to national security, this has significant ramifications for their rights, welfare, and economic advancement. This may be the main obstacle inhibiting the much-needed financial inclusion, especially the national credit system that PBAT stated would enable more Nigerians to become financially empowered. 

Not only that, most Nigerians are unaware of the requirement for death registration and the necessity of obtaining a Death Certificate. And despite being in the majority, most weddings performed in accordance with Islamic and customary law are hardly ever registered.

The fact that the eCRVS project is a part of the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda (UNLIA), a global initiative started in 2018 that seeks to guarantee legal identity for everyone, including birth registration, by 2030, makes this a commendable and crucial step. 

The UNLIA envisions a “holistic and integrated approach that links civil registration, vital statistics, and identity management systems”, and more importantly, it guarantees that the systems are interoperable and inclusive. 

A modern civil registration system records and maintains information on vital events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces in a population. The eCRVS uses digital technology to capture, store, process, and disseminate data. In most countries, a modern and comprehensive civil registration system also provides individuals and families with legal papers such as certificates and identity cards, as well as vital statistics to governments and other stakeholders for planning and decision-making.  

It goes without saying that civil registration is a fundamental human right and an essential component of good governance. It ensures that every person is recognized and protected by the law, and can access essential services such as health, education, and social protection. Civil registration also helps to monitor and address inequalities, discrimination, and exclusion in society. 

Of concern in Nigeria presently is the issue of parallel civil registration systems, including the NIN, BVN, INEC Voters Card, Utility Bills etc, with the implication that millions of people are subjected to unnecessary multiple and repeated verifications for mundane things like SIM card registration. This also exposes data of people to hacking and abuse, highlighting the growing global concern about the threat presented by cyber-attacks to national security.

As a result, in addition to implementing the eCRVS, the FG should consider other proposals highlighted in our National Security Cluster Policy Paper. These include:

1. Elimination of multiple identities and cards by *merging all biometric data and related agencies*. For all identity and security-related functions, such as bank verification, SIM registration, voting, and so forth, the *National ID Card must be utilized*.

2. The Ministry of Interior should house all national identity and civic registration agencies including the NIMC, BVN, and NPC.

3. To strengthen the reliability of our national data, birth and death registrations should be consolidated and transferred to the exclusive list.

4. The creation of NIMC and NPC Desks at all federal, state, and selected maternity centers in each LG to register infants for NINs and Birth Certificates.

5. The *newborn's picture* and *NIN* must be included on birth certificates.

6. It should be made the law that *all infants born in Nigeria must be registered within 30 days after delivery*, with late registration subject to additional obligations.

7. Passage of legislation requiring *the registration of all deaths within 30 days* and the issue of Death Certificates.

8. The system must be extended to all residents of the country, citizens, and non-citizens.

Finally, we commend the PBAT team for living up to his promise of innovative governance as Nigeria now joins the league of nations with digitized and comprehensive biometric data for our citizenry. This would help our country meet the targets of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and the African Union Agenda 2063.


Ademola Rabiu


Planning Committee

Akinyemi Akinlabi


National Security, Defence and Communications Cluster

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