Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has directed that names such as Nana, Nii, Papa and others as given by parents should be accepted for registration by the Births and Deaths Registry.
When complied with, the Births and Deaths Registry would have to revise it guidelines and do away with its regulations that did not allow registering certain Ghanaian titular names.
The current version of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), launched in July 2009, provides in Section 3.3, which deals with the particulars of the child, that ‘titles should not be added to the names, example, Reverend, Alhaji, Dr, Colonel, Nana, Jnr, Snr, etc, among others.
This position was re-echoed on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, by the Acting Registrar of the Births and Death Registry in an interview with an Accra newspaper, raising concerns by some parents regarding the registration of names, particularly names which begin with prefixes and titles.
The Registry therefore came under fire for refusing to register certain names like Nana, Nii, Naa, Torgbi and other local names, claiming they are for chiefs and are not acceptable for registration under their laws.
Parliament last week expressed its outrage over the practice and the Speaker, Prof Mike Ouaye summoned the Local Government Minister and the management of the Births and Deaths Registry, to explain to the House why such a position.
When she appeared before the House, the Minister told the Legislators that the Registry had been directed to review the standard operating procedure to allow for the registration of the names.
“Considering that the SOP serves as an operational guideline for the registration of births and deaths, coupled with the sentiment 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 Paapa, Nana, Nii, and so on as given by the parents should be accepted for registration,” she said.
The Registry, the Minister said, should be concerned with just official titles such as Reverend, Dr, Mr, and Miss among others.
The Minister announced that the sector Ministry would soon table a Bill to Parliament on registration of births and deaths, expecting that the Bill would address some of the controversies, and to reflect and accommodate present trends and societal developments.