Birth Certificate In Nigeria Is Free, Reps Insist
If you have paid money to get a birth certificate in Nigeria from the National Population Commission (NPC), you have been scammed.
It was a new revelation on Thursday at plenary of the House of Representatives when a lawmaker, Nkiru Onyejeocha, who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Abia State, raised a motion on the sale of birth certificates in Nigeria.
She told the lawmakers that the sale of birth certificates for 4,500 Naira had made many parents to evade registration of their new born.
It is unconstitutional, she said, and emphasised that birth certificates should remain free.
She alleged that the NPC was receiving the money for the certificates.
One thing she reminded the House was the poverty level in Nigeria and said that for citizens in rural communities the amount was exorbitant.
They may not be able to pay that amount of money and they will choose not to register their children, she stressed.
Supporting the motion, Chris Azubogu highlighted that birth registration and issuance of certificates were part of the government's social responsibility.
It is a right of every citizen of Nigeria that should not be hindered by the levy charged by the NPC, he stressed.
The House Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, giving his opinion on the issue, said the decision that must be reached by the House should not stop at ending the collection of money before birth certificates are issued, but should also include restitution.
"Money illegally collected should be returned and sanctions be imposed on the erring parties," he said.
Mr Gbajabiamila also requested that the House should mandate the committee investigating the matter to recommend whether the monies be remitted to government’s coffers or refunded to the applicants.
After deliberations the lawmakers condemned the sale of birth certificates in Nigeria, insisting that payment of money to the NPC to obtain birth certificates for newborn babies was illegal and should be stopped.
The House also encouraged the Federal Government to ensure sufficient funding of ministries, departments and agencies carry out their mandates.
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