The Head of the Births and Deaths Registry, John Agbeko, has explained why they do not allow parents register their children by local titles such as Nii, Naa, Nana and Papa.
In an interview with Accra-based Citi FM, Mr Agbeko said the act of 1965 does not allow for such titles.
“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.”
Birth and Death registry has banned the registration of names like Nii, Nana and Maame
He also said that by their standards, they have a standard way of arranging the names and that must be followed by everyone who registers their children.
However, Ghanaians are allowed to name their children King, Queen, Prince, Princess etc.
He said that their standard of operations at the Birth and Death Registry means that the English name comes first, followed by your local or Ghanaian name and then your surname.
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.”
He was however quick to add that “the issue of naming standards at the birth and death registry is in court.”
Parents who have gone to register their children in recent years have complained of the failure of the Birth and Death Registry to get their children registered due to their choice of names.
The Registry argued that the birth and death regulations 1965 does not allow for them to register titles as part of names given.
“In the past, Nii, Nana, Togbe were titles for our rulers. If they are becoming names, we can agree that they use it and not keep them for rulers.”
“We just have to look at our mode of operations and find the titles that have now become part of our names so we can move on.”
However, legal practitioner Ace Ankomah has indicated that there is no law that allows the Registry dictate how you name your child.
“There is no law that empowers the Births and Deaths registry to determine how someone must name their child. That nonsense must stop. There is no law that states that an English name should come before a local name.”
“I named my children Maame, Ohemaa and Papa but no one at the Births and Deaths Registry dared to stop me,” he added.
He explained that this is a colonial mentality that must be stopped immediately.