The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, on Friday, disclosed that 20 new Federal Marriage Registries across the country in a bid to bring Federal Marriage Registry closer to the grassroots.
Aregbesola made the disclosure in Abuja, at a National Stakeholders’ Conference on the Administration and Conduct of Statutory Marriage in Nigeria.
According to him, efforts are ongoing to have Federal Marriage Registries in all the State Capitals of the Federation.
A statement issued by the Ministry’s Department of Press and Public Relations and signed by Towoju Raphael added that the Minister was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Shuaib Belgore.
He said the Conference was necessitated by need for the Ministry to inform stakeholders and enlighten the public on some new guidelines and important aspects about the administration and conduct of Statutory Marriages in the country, as well as the amended Legal Notices in the Marriage Act.
According to him, the amended Legal Notices has changed the dynamics of the administration and conduct of statutory marriages in Nigeria and has put to rest the lingering disagreement between the Ministry and the Local Government Registrars of Marriage by designating the Local Government Areas and Area Development Councils of the Federal Capital Territory as Marriage Districts.
“The beauty of this arrangement is that it brings the services of this Ministry, via the Marriage Registries, closer to the grassroots, thus reducing the need to travel relatively long distances to get married at a Federal Marriage Registry,” Aregbesola said.
“Some of these guidelines include: i. that the Ministry of Interior has the sole regulatory responsibility for the issuance of licenses to Public Places of Worship for the conduct of statutory marriages in Nigeria; ii. Local Government Councils that have recently been designated as Marriage Districts may now nominate officers as Local Government Registrars of Marriage and must procure Marriage Certificate Booklets from the Ministry of Interior; iii. The nomination of Local Government Registrars of Marriage and the Deputies by the Local Government Authorities should be endorsed and registered by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior who is the Principal Registrar of Marriages in Nigeria; iv. The printing and issuance of Marriage Certificate Booklets to licensed Places of Worship and Marriage Registries is the sole responsibility of the Principal Registrar of Marriages; v. The Ministry of Interior has the sole authority to issue the only valid and legally recognised Certificate of Marriage known as FORM E.
“It is my utmost pleasure therefore, to inform you about one of the major achievements of the Ministry which is the successful review of the contents of the 2nd Schedule to the Marriage Act known as the Legal Notices. The review has brought the Legal Notices in conformity with the present administrative and political realities in Nigeria today while the amendment of other sections of the Marriage Act is ongoing,” he noted.
Ripples Nigeria recently reported that the Ministry had warned against ”ghost marriages.” They noted that ghost marriages are illegal and any Federal Registrar found to have violated the law with regards to registration of marriages, shall be punished.
This was contained in a statement by the Director of Citizenship and Business Department, Mrs Moremi Soyinka-Onijala, in response to speculations that marriage certificates were being obtained from the Federal Registries, in the absence of intending couples.
Responding on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Soyinka-Onijala explained that it is absolutely compulsory for intending couples to be present before any marriage can be registered or certificates issued.
Citing some provisions of the Marriage Act, she said that Sections 44 provides that “whoever impersonates any other person in marriage, or marries under a false name or description, with intent to deceive the other party to the marriage, shall be liable to imprisonment for five years”
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