The Federal Government, in a bid to put to rest controversies sorrounding who has the right to conduct statutory marriage between it and local governments in the country, has named the 12 licensed marriage registries in the country.
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Interior, re-emphasised its position that it was the only tier of government permitted by the constitution to regulate and conduct marriages.
The Federal Government also explained that formation of statutory marriages was within the exclusive legislative list and that it was the regulatory body for the conduct of statutory marriages and the issuance of marriage certificates.
The 12 registries, located in 10 states and the FCT are the Federal Marriage Registries in Ikoyi, Lagos State; Abuja, Federal Capital Territory; Benin, Edo State; Owerri, Imo State; Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Kano, Kano State; Jos, Plateau State, Enugu, Enugu; Kaduna, Kaduna; Ibadan, Oyo State; Ikeja, Lagos State, and Makurdi, Benue State.
It would be recalled that the ministry had in an advertorial on Wednesday reacted to a statement credited to local governments asking organizations to ignore a directive by the Federal Government on who has the right to conduct statutory marriage.
“The Ministry of Interior is therefore constrained to issue this notice in order to properly guide the public on the issue of Statutory Marriages under the applicable law in Nigeria”, the ministry said.
It also explained further that it had the responsibility for granting licences to qualified places of worship as well as LGAs that compiled with the provisions of the Act (Sections 4(2) & (5) of the Marriage Act), adding that the ministry had the responsibility to appoint officers to serve as registrars in the Federal Marriage Registries.
“It is observed that the local governments have deliberately misinterpreted powers conferred on them by item 7 (1) of the Fourth Schedule of the constitution.
“For the avoidance of doubt, item 7(1) states that the functions of the Local Government include: registration of all births, deaths and marriages. This provision is clear and requires the local government councils to maintain registries to register births, deaths and marriages for record purposes and planning”, the interior ministry said in the advertorial.
It however, warned that any statutory marriage conducted in breach of the Marriage Act, CAP 218, Laws of the Federation 2004 would not serve the desired purpose.
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