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Marriage registry: LGAs threaten contempt proceedings against Dambazau


Four local government areas which are challenging the authority of the Ministry of Interior to operate marriage registries have called on the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, to obey a 2004 court judgment given by Justice Oyindamola Olomojobi of the Federal High Court in their favour.

The LGAs, in a May 4, 2018 letter by their lawyer, Roger Adedimeji, to the minister, threatened to resort to contempt proceedings should their call be ignored.

The threat of contempt proceedings came on the heels of an April 30, 2018 judgment of Justice Chuka Obiozor, sitting in the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, who struck out a suit filed against the Minister of Interior, the Attorney General of the Federation and one Adebimpe Rebecca by the LGAs.

In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1760/16, the plaintiffs had urged Justice Obiozor to declare that “by virtue of Section 1(5) and Paragraph 1 (i) of the 1999 Constitution, the registration of marriages is within the exclusive authorities of the registrar with local government.”

They prayed for “a perpetual injunction, restraining the first respondent (Minister of Interior), either by himself, agency or servants from further issuing marriage certificates to intending couples in the applicants’ local government in Nigeria.”

They also prayed for “an order sealing all the federal marriage registries established by the first respondent in the applicants’ local government in Nigeria.”

But Justice Obiozor, while striking out the suit, noted that the relief being sought by the LGAs had already been “clearly or distinctly pronounced upon” by Justice Olomojobi in a 2004 judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/870/2002.

Justice Obiozor described the new suit as an abuse of court processes, holding that he could not pronounce on an issue which a fellow judge of the Federal High Court had already decided, particularly at the risk of reaching a different decision, which would lead to chaos.

He emphasised that Justice Olomojobi’s judgment remained valid and was bound to be obeyed.

“There is no evidence before this court that that the decision in FHC/L/870/2002 has been nullified on appeal or that any appeal is pending against the decision. As it stands, that decision is binding and subsisting. Surely, a judgment of a court of law is presumed valid and parties are bound to obey it,” Justice Obiozor held.

In their letter threatening to sue the Minister of Interior for contempt, counsel for the LGAs, Adedimeji, said, “Your Excellency, we hereby seek that you comply with the 2004 judgment by directing your agents or any representatives of your marriage the registries to desist from registration of marriages or issuance of marriage certificates.

“Your Excellency, take notice that we have the instructions of our clients to institute contempt proceedings in failure, neglect or disobedience of the above named judgment within seven working days of the service and acknowledgment of this letter by your ministry.”


Source: http://punchng.com/marriage-registry-lgas-threaten-contempt-proceedings-against-dambazau/

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