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UNICEF sensitises Nigerians on birth registration, violence, COVID-19 protocols

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has sensitised traditional, religious leaders, and other relevant stakeholders on the importance of birth registration, ending violence against children and women besides enlightenment on COVID-19 prevention and risk mitigation in Benue State of Nigeria.

The Child Protection Community Sensitisation Campaigns, which held in all 23 local government areas of the state, and sponsored by UNICEF, was organised by the National Population Commission (NPC).

The Sun reports the event held in collaboration with the Benue state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and the National Orientation Agency (NOA).

Patricia Kuchi, Federal Commissioner of NPC in Benue State, at one of the advocacies held in the palace of Chief Asema Iortim, JP, District Head of Ankpa/Wadata, in Makurdi, Benue State capital, commended the UN agency for supporting the programme, especially during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Federal Commissioner of NPC said: “We know, and we admit that there is a short fall in the recordings of births.

“We hitherto had had shortfall, but you can be sure that in the last 90 days, no birth has been registered with the Commission. And the law says every birth should be registered with the commission within 60 days.

“We are interested in this programme because before now, we have had several advocacy visits.

“UNICEF has intervened in our advocacy efforts in the state and within this period that we had this pandemic, a lot of activities came to a grinding halt.

According to Kuchi, “offices were shut down and lives were not normal. So, we know and we admit that there is a short fall in the recordings of births. But we can say that because of the pandemic we also have not been available.

“So, it is a collaboration to kick start birth registration exercise all over again. Perhaps some of them went when the offices were shut down. Now we are available and we are carrying the message particularly to the councils to step up advocacy and registration of birth.”

Richard Audu, Benue State Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), said the agency was leading the advocacy on the COVID-19 pandemic in mobilising and sensitising of the people on the dangers of the pandemic and in also taking responsibility.

We are in this to ensure that people respect the World Health Organisation (WHO), protocol and take precautionary measures to avoid contracting the virus and check its spread in our state, he stressed.

Audu expressed satisfaction with the reaction of the people towards the sensitisation and advocacy campaigns even as he urged them to continue to practice all the laid down safety measures put in place by relevant authorities to check the spread of the virus.

He said: “We advise the people to avoid contacts as much as possible because it is one issue we are still battling with both in churches and mosques even in the state.

“In Benue state the infection rate is increasing and the issue is that Nigerians want to see you bring some handouts for them before they gather to listen to you. They expect at least free face masks.”

Commenting on the development, Mrs. Nyiezungwe Igirgi, Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Benue State, as well commended UNICEF for collaborating with the state government to attend to such issues as birth registration, gender based violence and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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