The Births and Deaths Registry under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has been directed to accept the registration of names they previously deemed titles.
The Registry came under public criticism for refusing to register certain names like Nana, Nii, Naa, Torgbe and other local names as well as foreign titles like Reverend, Dr, Colonel and Junior, claiming they are for chiefs – in the case of the local ones – and are not acceptable for registration under their laws.
This provoked Parliament to summon the sector minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, and the registrar, John Agbeko, for questioning.
Appearing before her colleague parliamentarians on Tuesday, Hajia Mahama told the House that she has directed the Registry to accept all Ghanaian names.
The Nalerigu-Gambaga Member of Parliament added that her ministry is working on a bill to be presented to Parliament to address the challenges.
She pointed out that the seeming ban of the titles began with the promulgation of the Births and Deaths Regulations of 1970, LI 653 which demanded a Birth Report Form from which an instruction manual was created.
The Registry, as a result, developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which is a body of written instructions issued for guidance of staff and field workers of the Registry.
Hajia Mahama noted that the current version of the SOP was launched in July, 2009, and precisely in Chapter 3, specific instructions are given not to register titles.
“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 etc as given by the parents should be accepted for registration.”