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PRESS RELEASE COMMUNIQUE OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT MARRIAGE REGISTRARS NATIONAL CONFERENCE HELD AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CENTRE, ABUJA FROM 10TH - 12TH SEPTEMBER 2019

   

The attention of the Local Government Marriage Registries has been drawn to the recent press report by the Federal Ministry of Interior on the implementation of the Marriage Act in Nigeria. We implore the Ministry of Interior to respect the Nigerian constitution, court processes and court orders on registration of marriages in Nigeria.

The Registrars of marriages at the Local Government Registries across the states of the federation call on the Hon. Minister of Interior to call on his Permanent Secretary and other staff of the Ministry and direct them to close down their illegal marriage registries presently being run by a private firm ANCHOR DATAWARE SOLUTIONS LIMITED across the federation based on a contract between the Ministry of Interior and this private company, as the said contract, apart from its illegality, based on the relevant Nigeria legal framework, is presently being operated in a manner that creates an avenue for corruption to thrive in view of the sharing ratio of fund collected on behalf of the Ministry of Interior by the private company. An act which is contrary to the Anti corruption policies of the present government in Nigeria

It is an elementary knowledge that marriage matters are exclusive local government affairs in Nigeria and other part of the world.

Nigeria got her independence from the Great Britain and up till date, marriage matters remain exclusively matters for the Boroughs which are the Local Governments in that country. In the United State of America (USA) and Canada, marriage matters are handled by the County Councils which are the Local Governments in that country. Same goes for African countries like: Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, and Benin. They are neighbouring West African countries to Nigeria. Marriages are registered at the local level in these countries.

It is on this wisdom that the Nigerian constitution empowers the Local Governments to "REGISTER ALL TYPES OF MARRIAGES" with no exception.

What should be of interest to all stakeholders is the flagrant use of power in violation of the Nigerian constitution by the Federal Ministry of Interior and some states ministries and departments of government to take away the functions of the Local Governments to register marriages constitutionally not minding the fact that Nigeria operates a federalism type of government. It is sad, worrying and damaging to the country's image that some people in the Ministry of Interior caused a letter to be written to some foreign Embassies in Nigeria denouncing the constitutional right of Local Government Councils to register marriages and misrepresenting to and arrogating to the Ministry of Interior the powers to register marriages. This is sad. The Ministry of Interior has no such powers to register marriages and should refrain from act that may further damage Nigerian’s image within the comity of nations.

The Nigerian Local Governments herewith call on the: 1. Secretary to the Government of the Federation 2. Hon. Minister of Interior 3. Attorney General of the Federation & Minister of Justice 4. The National Assembly 5. States government ministries/parastatals and 6. All the Stakeholders: to urgently take steps to stop the Ministry of Interior and other state governments from further setting up or operating illegal marriage registration activities in the country. The Ministry, a very important department of the Federal Government should be advised to focus on sensitive areas that will positively impact Nigeria as the registration of all types of marriage in Nigeria is constitutionally the responsibility of the Local Governments.

This call becomes very urgent so as to prevent confusing Nigerians and friends of Nigeria on the right place to register, celebrate or contract marriage.

The renewed interest of the Ministry of Interior for its illegal registration of marriage under the Marriage Act is illegal and contrary to the CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (C.F.R.N) 1999 AS AMENDED.

The general public and the various foreign embassies offices in Nigeria should therefore disregard any information, publication or act to misinform them of the laws regulating marriages in Nigeria by Ministry of Interior or its agent(s).

The general public are therefore informed to disregard the information that the marriage certificates issued by local government in Nigeria are illegal as the Ministry of Interior is not empowered to do so by law.

The foreign Embassies in Nigeria should disregard the circular from the Ministry of Interior to dishonour marriage certificates issued by the various Local Government Councils in Nigeria. All enquiries on verification of marriage certificates issued by local governments in Nigeria can be confirmed directly from the local government of issuance, through the Principal Marriage Registrars in each State of the federation or through the official website of the Databank for local government marriages in Nigeria @ www.intergovernmentalmarriagereg.org

The general public should take note that the local governments in Nigeria through four Local Government Councils listed in the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria have taken steps to stop the illegal claims and registration of Marriage under the Act by the Ministry of Interior in Suit No:FHC/L/CS/816/18 and is presently ongoing before Hon. Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court Lagos and our lead counsel is Roger Michael Adedimeji Esq.

The local governments will henceforth resist any misinformation by the Ministry of Interior or any of its agents to mislead the general public and the Embassies in Nigeria while calling for the urgent attention of all relevant arms of government, especially the intervention of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as the Chief law enforcement officer of the Federation to prevent a situation where Nigeria is seen as a lawless country among the Committee of Nations.

The local governments also implore the various religious bodies and places of public worship in Nigeria to disregard the information that the local governments cannot license them to conduct marriage under the Act which remains the exclusive right of the local government to celebrate and register all types of marriages to the exclusion of Ministry of Interior or any other arms of government as enshrined under the Fourth Schedule at Paragraph 4(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 as amended.

In conclusion, the local government marriage registries as listed in the constitution of Nigeria will want to officially inform the general public, most especially those that registered their marriages in the local government marriage registries across Nigeria, may confirm that such marriage is already documented on the data bank of the local government marriage website @ www.intergovernmentalmarriagereg.org while assuring them that all marriage certificate issued by the local government in Nigeria are legal and genuine .

THANKS

 

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