The National Population Commission (NPC) on Thursday in Akure said no fewer than 85 million children under the age of five were not registered at birth in Africa.
The Ondo State Director of NPC, Mr Olatunsun Falusi, stated this at the launch of a media campaign on birth registration in the state.
The event was organised by the commission in collaboration with UNICEF and the EU.
Falusi said that only 44 per cent of Africa’s births were registered and that only eight per cent of children under five were registered.
He further said that 30 million children in Nigeria stood the risk of losing their identity, if nothing was done urgently to check the trend.
Falusi also said that eight out of 10 countries with the lowest level of birth registration were in sub-Saharan Africa and that Nigeria had the largest population of unregistered children.
He also said that no fewer than one million of the unregistered children were born in the state.
“The number of children under five in Nigeria is projected to increase from 32 million in 2015 to 58 million by 2050.
“At the same time, the number of children under 18 in Nigeria is projected to increase from 93 million in 2015 to 191 million in 2050,” he said.
The population boss said that the birth certificate issued by the commission remained the only officially recognised evidence of age for Nigerian children under 18.
According to him, “Getting every child in Ondo registered is not just an option but an absolute necessity in our quest to deliver to the nation an accurate, reliable, acceptable and verifiable demographic data.”
Also, the Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladelusi, advocated a government policy that would make it a punishable offence for parents that failed to register their child at birth.
Mr Bode Famose, the state Director of the National Orientation Agency, further charged stakeholders to take advantage of the media campaign to get every child in the state registered.
Famose urged parents to avoid double registration.
In her own remarks, Dr. Banke Olorunfemi, the Chief Medical Director of Mother and Child in the state, advised parents and guardians to adequately safeguard the birth record of their children for future reference.