The Births and Deaths Registry has defended its decision to blacklist names such as Nana, Junior, Nana, Maame among others from being registered in the country.
According to the Registrar at the Births and Deaths Registry, John Yao Agbeko, these are considered as titles, adding that the law governing their processes – Act 301 passed in 1965, gives them the power to ban such names should the need arise.
“There is a law that regulates the activities of the Births and Deaths registry, that law is the Births and Deaths Registration Act 301 of 1965. In this Act, we have a function for the Minister to do a regulation. In the regulation, there is a function for the registrar to come out with a mode of operation.”
“So even though you will not read it in the Act, the regulation allows the Registrar to come out with the mode of operation to manage the place, and that is what we have done. That is why if you go to Tamale, the one over there will tell you that you cannot register that name. If you pick that same name and you run to Accra, in order to do same, you will be told you can’t do it,” he explained on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday.
Although Ghanaians have been encouraged to give their children indigenous names, the registry has refused to register names like Torgbui, Nii, Maame etc that come up for registration.
Some people who had wanted to register such names had complained to Citi News that their requests were shot down despite convincing explanations.
Law being reviewed
Mr. Agbeko however said his outfit is overwhelmed with such requests, adding that in view of this, the 1965 law is being reviewed to provide standard naming practices for the country.
“It is a challenging situation for me, people came here with similar complaints.”
He noted that the reviewed law is currently at the Attorney-General’s Department awaiting finalization.
“The law is now being reviewed, currently it is at the Attorney-General’s Department, they are looking at it. In 2016, we got almost to the stage where it was going to Parliament for approval but it came late in the year.”
He said the amendment will prevent people from using “those names or nouns that will come as prefix or a suffix.”
“And it [the amended law under consideration] is saying that the registrar would have to publish this for everybody to know and as time goes on, because we are a dynamic society, if we realize that those things that we published they cannot be used, we go back and we take them out, then we move on,” Mr. Agbeko added.
Births and Deaths Registry breaching law; this nonsense must stop
Also speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on the same issue, a private legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah, argued that the registry is breaching the law.
“It is not in the law. There is no law that was passed in 1965, and it is also not in the regulation that was supposed to have been made under the 1965 Act.”
According to him, although the law makes provision for a written mode of operation, it cannot be in contravention of the main law.
“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.