43 per cent births not captured by Nigerian civil authorities
About 43 per cent of children in Nigeria under the age of five do not have their births registered with civil authorities, the newly launched Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) 6 2021 report has found.
According to the document, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recorded the highest levels of birth registration in 2021, tallying 94 per cent and 87 per cent, while the lowest levels were in Jigawa (23.6 per cent) and Sokoto (22.5 per cent).
Also, more than 50 per cent of children between ages five and 17 in Bauchi and Kastina states are engaged in child Labour, while the smallest proportions were found in Lagos (10 per cent) and Ondo (nine per cent).
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Chief of Measurement for Result (M4R), Claes Johnson, who made the disclosure at the media dialogue on MICS 6, organised by the Child Rights Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF in Abuja, explained that of the more than half of all children under the age of five, 57 per cent of them had their births registered with civil authorities in 2021, representing an increase of 10 per cent points from five years ago.
He stressed the need for Nigeria to do more in improving birth registration.
Johnson said three out of every 10 children aged five to 17 years (32 per cent) are engaged in child labour, adding that it is a decrease of 19 cent points from five years ago.
He added that the MICS survey also showed that Bauchi and Jigawa states recorded the highest number of child marriages in 2021 with 74 per cent and 72 per cent, while the lowest levels were found in Enugu (four per cent) and Lagos (three per cent).
“Three out of every 10 women, aged 20 to 24 years (30 per cent), were married or in union before their 18th birthday. This is a decrease of 14 per cent points from five years ago,” Johnson submitted.
Earlier, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, while declaring the event open, recognised the critical role of the media in shaping the future of the Nigerian child and promoting the rights of children.