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Nigerian govt clarifies differences between birth certificate, certificate of live birth

Dr Suleiman Lawal, National Population Commission (NPopC) Commissioner representing Kano state, has explained the difference between Certificate of Live to Birth and the Birth Certificate issued by the commission.

Lawal, who disclosed this to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, said that both documents have unique functions which differentiate them.“The Certificate of Live Birth is completed shortly after a baby is born in a hospital; it is the medical field’s way of documenting that a human being has entered the world.

“The Certificate of Live Birth includes the baby’s name, parents names, doctor’s name, hospital, sex, race, date of birth and name of person completing the record.

“The Certificate of Live Birth is the first ‘unofficial’’ document verifying that your mother gave birth to you alive.

“It is the hospital’s record of your birth and must be completed shortly after you come into the world,” he said.

Lawal added that the certificate was supposed to be sent to the vital records office where it is used to create a Birth Certificate for a child.

“But in Nigeria, the hospitals do not send their data because there is no framework for it.’’

He said the Certificate of Live Birth would not be accepted as a replacement for a Birth Certificate.

Lawal said that the Birth Certificate is one of the most important documents for any Nigerian.

“After a child is born, your birth certificate should be created; it is a government-issued form of identification given by the NPopC.

“A typical birth certificate includes the Name, City and Country of Birth, Date of Birth, Parents’ Names, including their Occupation, Address and Ethnicities.

“Let’s say the Certificate of Live Birth simply verifies that you are medically alive, whereas the Birth Certificate verifies who you are, who your parents are, where you were born and your date of birth.

“Without your Birth Certificate, you cannot prove who you are and this can cause many problems for you.

“Your Birth Certificate is a very important document and should be kept in some place safe and it should be protected,” Lawal advised.

He said it was wrong for Nigerians to obtain the certificate of live birth as substitute for a duly-issued birth certificate by the NPopC.

He said NPopC officers are expected to carry out sensitisation at the grassroots about new births and issue birth certificates after the newborns have been registered.

“If they are not doing it, then it is our responsibility to ensure they do it.

“So it is not a passive registration where someone sits in a place and wait for people to come; they are expected to reach out to people as part of their responsibilities,” he said.

According to Lawal, birth registration remains the first step towards recognising a child’s right as a human being.

“Specifically, birth registration is the official recording of the birth of a child through an administrative process of the state and it is a permanent and official record of a child’s existence,” he said.

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