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Gov’t orders Births and Deaths to register ‘title’ names

The Local Government Minister has directed the Births and Deaths Registry to register the indigenous Ghanaian names they were not registering previously.

The Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, made this known in Parliament on Tuesday (January 30, 2018).

She explained that parents must be allowed to register their children by the names they wish to give their children.

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“Mr. Speaker, considering that the SOP serves as an operational guideline for the registration of births and deaths, coupled with the sentiments expressed by the public, the acting registrar of births and deaths registry has been directed to review the SOP and further directed that names such as Nana, Nii, Papa and so on as given by the parents should be accepted for registration.”

She said the Registry should rather not accept official titles “such as reverend, doctor, Mr., Miss, honourable and so on” while her outfit works on bringing to Parliament a bill on Births and Deaths regulation.

“The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development will very soon bring a bill to Parliament on registration of births and deaths, which will address some of these controversies, and to reflect and accommodate present trends and societal developments,” she added.

Background

The Registrar at the Births and Deaths, John Agbeko, explained that they do not allow parents register their children by local names because they are titles.

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“We don’t put titles on certificates so you can’t name your child Nana, Naa, etc. The births and deaths registry doesn’t allow that.”

However, Ghanaians are allowed to name their children King, Queen, Prince, Princess etc.

Asked if that is not a colonial mentality, Mr Agbeko expressed worry saying “If we start naming ourselves anyhow, I don’t see where we will end in 20 years.”

“If we decide as a nation that we want to arrange names the way we want to without any standard, the registry is just here to regulate and serve the public.”

Meanwhile, a private legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah, has said that it is illegal for the Births and Deaths Registry to prevent people from registering certain names in the country.

“What the law says is that they should have a mode of operation. The Births and Deaths Registry has no power to make law. Having a mode of operation must comply with the law. So if the fundamental law does not give you a certain power, you cannot be claiming that you have written your own mode of operation to make that power to yourself. So it does not exist, it has no legal basis, that nonsense must stop,” he fumed.

Already, pressure group OccupyGhana has threatened to sue the government over the action after many Ghanaians greeted the report with anger.

Parliament also expressed its dissatisfaction with this development and called the Local Government Minister to appear before them for better explanations.

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