AG Petitioned over blacklisted indigenous names by Births and Deaths Registry

BY: Getrude Ankah Nyavi
Gloria Akuffo
Gloria Akuffo

Pressure group, Occupy Ghana has petitioned the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo over blacklisted indigenous names by the Births and Deaths Registry.

Registrars of the Birth and Death Registry had refused to register the birth of children whose names include “Maame,” “Pappa,” “Nana,” “Naa,” “Junior,” “Nene,” “Nii” and “Ohemaa”. The Registry was also determining the order in which names must be written, giving prominence to foreign names over indigenous Ghanaian names.

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But Occupy Ghana in a petition to the AG and copied to the Local Government Minister said, the Registry’s action has no basis in law, and urged the Attorney General to take steps to address the issue since it is a gross violation of the rights of Ghanaians.

“The Registrars claim that they are empowered to do this on the basis of the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1965 (Act 301). We have however checked that Act and all relevant laws including the Regulations passed under the Act. We have not seen any provision that either supports this policy or gives the Registrars of Births and Deaths any power to refuse to register any name. We believe that this stance is a gross violation of the rights of Ghanaians to choose names (particularly Ghanaian names) as they deem fit for their children, subject to the right to change one’s name at any time later in life|.

The group therefore called on the Attorney General to order the Registry to stop such acts, else they will proceed to court within the next 30 days

“We therefore write to put you on notice, in accordance with section 10 of the State Proceedings Act, 1998 (Act 555), that we intend to commence civil action against the Republic within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter if this illegality is not addressed forthwith”.

Below is the full statement from Occupy Ghana:

The Attorney-General & Minister for Justice

Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department

Accra

Dear Madam,

REFUSAL TO REGISTER NAMES AT THE BIRTHS AND DEATHS REGISTRY – NOTICE OF ACTION

Our attention has been drawn to the implementation of an alleged policy by the Registrars of the Birth and Death Registry that refuses to register the birth of children whose names include names such as “Maame,” “Pappa,” “Nana,” “Naa,” “Junior,” “Nene,” “Nii” and “Ohemaa” as well as determine the order in which names must be written, giving prominence to foreign names over indigenous Ghanaian names. The Registrars claim that they are empowered to do this on the basis of the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1965 (Act 301).

We have however checked that Act and all relevant laws including the Regulations passed under the Act. We have not seen any provision that either supports this policy or gives the Registrars of Births and Deaths any power to refuse to register any name. We believe that this stance is a gross violation of the rights of Ghanaians to choose names (particularly Ghanaian names) as they deem fit for their children, subject to the right to change one’s name at any time later in life.

We therefore write to put you on notice, in accordance with section 10 of the State Proceedings Act, 1998 (Act 555), that we intend to commence civil action against the Republic within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter if this illegality is not addressed forthwith.

We however believe that this cause of action will not be necessary if all Registrars of the Births and Deaths Registry will be directed to desist from these acts and stop refusing to register such names as they have no basis in law.

Yours faithfully,

OccupyGhana®

1. The Minister

Ministry of Local Government

Accra


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