By Hassan Zaggi
On Wednesday, November 8, Nigeria will record another history with the formal launch of the electronic Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System (eCRVS) and Geospatial Data Repository.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will launch the projects at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja.
This, indeed, is historic considering that Nigeria is choked with lack of credible data for planning in virtually all aspects. This will lay to rest the consistent use of estimated figures by policy makers instead of using real and scientifically proven statistics.
The project will also assist other government agencies including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Identity Card Management, Immigration to resolve issues of new entrant, for example, INEC registration will be reflected and those that have died will be removed instead of carrying bogus data of registered citizens who are dead.
This is a step towards the implementation of the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda where member States were encouraged to develop an electronic technology driven system to boost data generation and civil statistics.
The project is being executed by the National Population Commission (NPC) through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with Barnksforte Technologies Limited, a reputable, and innovative indigenous ICT solution provider with a track record of success in ICT solution provision with government agencies. The project is also being supported by the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF).
Speaking at a pre-event media briefing , the Chairman of the NPC, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, explained that the PPP arrangement is to promote the Vital Reg System as a complete electronic system that digitalizes all civil registrations such as birth registration, still birth registration, birth attestation, adoption, marriage notification, divorce notification, migration and death.
The system, the NPC Chairman further said: “Provides a digital certificate in all cases, an accessible verification platform to registered organizations, and has a central management system (dashboard) that depicts and analyses collated civil registrations into vital statistics for proper decision-making.
“This process marks a complete departure from traditional paper-based recording of vital events to a state-of-the-art digital solution that conforms to international best practices.
“This electronic Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System promise to revolutionize how vital events are recorded, tracked, and analysed in the country.”
Apart from the formal launch of the electronic Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System (eCRVS) and Geospatial Data Repository, the President will inaugurate the CRVS National coordination Committee.
According to Hon. Kwara: “This is to establish a high-level coordination mechanism involving all relevant stakeholders for efficient functioning of the digital CRVS system and to support appropriate institutional and human infrastructure and operational procedures to capture vital statistics diverse events in Nigeria.
“It is to ensure commitments and a sustained national, international, financial and political investment for birth registration within the CRVS system in Nigeria.
“The launch of the e-CRVS by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu marks the commitment of the current government and leadership to strengthen civil registration data capturing, collation, processing, dissemination and timely access to statistics on vital events in the country.
“It aims to accelerate the improved civil registration and vital statistics systems in Nigeria over a period of 10 years, from 2023 to 2030 in a bid to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG):16.9.2 – legal identity for all, including birth registration.”
It is worth mentioning that the launch of the Digital Civil Registration and Vital Registration System, will, no doubt, overhaul the process of registration of births and deaths and launch Nigeria towards the attainment of the SDG Goal 16.9.2 – legal identity for all, including birth registration and laying a solid foundation for an efficient Civil registration and Vital Statistic system.
“Our confidence,” Hon. Kwara said, “is reinforced in the fact that, over the years, the Commission has invested considerable time and resources planning for an improved digitization process in Census mapping, capturing vital statics data to give the nation a truly electronic Civil Registration & Vital Statistics data for socio-economic planning and providing the Nation with a near real time georeferenced Census data update.
The NPC chairman, however, appealed to all stakeholder including traditional, religious leaders, the NGOs and the private sector to join hands with the Commission in realizing the dream of providing the needed Vital Registration data that will facilitate and place Nigeria on the path of sustainable development.
Speaking on the impact of the project on children in the country, the Chief of Child Protection in UNICEF, Mr Ibrahim Sesay, regretted that: “We do have only 32 per cent of children that are registered in rural areas compared to 60 per cent of those in the urban areas.
“Every single day, 20,000 children are born in Nigeria of which every year, we have 7-8 million children that are born in the country.
“For you to have access to service such as education, you need a birth certificate. That is an interest to us because we want to make sure every child is sent to school.
“Based on this data, if a child is not immunised, obviously, in the long run, it will show up.
“That is why we are here so that every child who is born in Nigeria and even outside Nigeria, is registered.”
There is no doubt, these projects are low hanging fruits for the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration to follow through and ensure they are executed to the later.
It is pertinent to call on the President to take personal interest and supervise these projects to the very end. There is also the need to inject more funds on the project to ensure its proper execution and sustainability.
On the other hand, Nigerians must take ownership of the projects and therefore, cooperate and support the NPC to ensure success.