Nigeria: Registration of birth, including the name of the organization responsible for the registration; the role of an organization called "Native Birth Register"; the document issued to a person to attest to the registration of his or her birth, particularly the document issued in 2002 attesting to a birth in the 1960s that was registered in 1966 in the city of Lagos (Sept. 2004)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||16 September 2004|
|Citation / Document Symbol||NGA42953.FE|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Nigeria: Registration of birth, including the name of the organization responsible for the registration; the role of an organization called "Native Birth Register"; the document issued to a person to attest to the registration of his or her birth, particularly the document issued in 2002 attesting to a birth in the 1960s that was registered in 1966 in the city of Lagos (Sept. 2004), 16 September 2004, NGA42953.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df61433e.html [accessed 26 July 2014]|
A consular officer at the Nigeria High Commission in Ottawa provided the following information in correspondence dated 31 August 2004.
Decrees 39 and 69 of 1979 and 1992, respectively, made registration of birth and death with the National Population Commission (NPC) compulsory. However, some hospitals (for hospital births) and local governments (for home births) can also register and issue birth certificates. A person whose birth was not registered at the time of birth, a very common situation in Nigeria, can obtain a sworn declaration of age. A parent, or a close family member who witnessed the birth, has only to swear an oath at a court registry or before a commissioner for oaths as to the date of birth of the person concerned.
However, although a sworn declaration of age is valid for official purposes, registration with the NPC is also required. Consequently, any birth certificate issued in 2002 attesting to a birth in 1966 should be issued by the NPC.
During a 7 September 2004 telephone interview, the consular officer provided the following information. The NPC has a mandate to assemble all the demographic data collected by various institutions, including the hospitals and local governments. Consequently, any request for a document attesting to a person's birth, regardless of the date of birth or where the birth was previously registered, must be made to the NPC.
The consular officer indicated that the "Native Birth Register" was responsible for registering births in all cities in the country during the colonial period. When Nigeria gained independence [on 1 October 1960], the organization was abolished and was then replaced by the NPC.
According to two other sources of information, the NPC, an organization of the federal government of Nigeria (PARIS 21 18-20 Mar. 2003), is responsible for the registration of births, among other things (ibid.; UNPAN 22 Feb. 2000). However, under the constitution, this responsibility also falls on local governments (Gboyega 2003; United States 10 Feb. 2004). In a statement published in the 21 August 2004 issue of This Day, the wife of the Governor of Lagos State appealed to "parents and other stakeholders in the birth registration process," including hospital (public and private) employees and "traditional birth attendants," to ensure that every birth is registered. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimated that 30 percent of births are registered in Nigeria (n.d.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Gboyega, Alex. 2003. "Democratization and Local Governance in Nigeria since 1999."
Nigeria High Commission, Ottawa. 7 September 2004. Telephone interview with a consular officer.
_____. 31 August 2004. Correspondence from a consular officer.
Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS 21) [Abuja]. 18-20 March 2003. PARIS21 Regional Workshop for West Africa Member State. Nigeria Country Report.
This Day [Lagos]. 21 August 2004. "Mrs Tinubu Stresses Child Birth Registration Need."
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). n.d. "Birth Registration: Challenges and Progress to Date."
United Nations Online Network in Public Administration and Finance (UNPAN). 22 February 2000. "Nigeria: Changing Context of Government."
United States. 10 February 2004. United States Agency for International Development (USAID). "Nigeria: Administrative Divisions."
Additional Sources Consulted
The Canadian diplomatic mission to Nigeria did not respond to an information request within time constraints.
Internet sites, including: Federal Government of Nigeria, Lagos State, United States Department of State.