WHAT IS CIVIL REGISTRATION AND VITAL STATISTICS
The United Nations defines Civil Registration as the "continuous, permanent,
compulsory and universal recording by registration of the occurrence and
characteristics of vital events pertaining to the population as provided through
decrees or regulation in accordance with the legal requirements of each country"
It deals primarily with events that affect the civil status of the individual. Such
events include births, deaths, stillbirths, marriages, annullment of marriages,
foundings, naturalization, etc. The laws of most countries, including Nigeria, make
the recording of these events' compulsory. The statistics genetrated from the exercise
is referred to as 'Vital Statistics'. These events are referred to as "Vital" because
they have to do with the individual's entry into, and departure out of life, with the
changes in civil status in his/her lifetime.
LEGAL FRAME WORK FOR CIVIL REGISTRATION
In Nigeria, the law on the registration of these events is Act 69 of 1992 otherwise
known as 'Births, Deaths, Etc (Compulsory) Registration' Act.
BENEFITS OF CIVIL REGISTRATION
The uses of civil registration data can be grouped into three namely, Statistical,
Medical and Administrate.
Vital statistics provides additional data independent of census, on meausures,
trends and patterns of fertility and mortality for the entire nation and for the
small geographical areas.
Complete registration of births provides the sex ration at birth, which is a very
important piece of information for use in population projections
The data from civil registration gives information on the seasonality of births and
deaths. This has relevance for the planning of related services.
The system is used as a check on census enumeration, particularly among the infant,
child and young age groups, where under-enumeration is common.
Data on deaths and their causes are essential in the planningof health services for
specific areas, as well as for the whole country. For example, statistics on cause
of death are useful in forecasting the future direction of age-specific mortality
Epidemiological studies based on causes of morbidity, which have a strong influence
in the reflection of mortality, are usually based on records of vital statistics
generated by the system.
Birth registration records provide the necessary legal and doocumentary evidence to
certify a person's age, parentage, birthplace, and nationality or citizenship
Birth certificates are used in the determination of a person's eligibility for
enrolment in and admission into school, obtaining a passport, employment, age group
competitions, sports, entitlement to health care, voting in elections, etc.
In order to enjoy other social benefits, such as family allowances, insurance
claims, child care allowances, tax relief, the birth certificate is usually
The records of death and death certificates provide legal evidence relevant to
claims of property, insurance benefits relating to deceased persons, the right of
surviving spouses to remarry, and for family allowances.
Birth certificate helps to check incidences of child trafficking, early marriage for
the girl child, child labor, child soldiers, police harrassment and unlawful