Court orders closure of Ikoyi Registry, declares marriages conducted illegal and invalid.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the closure of all federal marriage registries opened by the ministry, including the Ikoyi Marriage Registry, with immediate effect.
The court presided over by Justice D. E. Osiagor held that only the local government marriage registries are empowered to conduct marriages by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Justice Osiagor noted that it’s unconstitutional for federal government registries to conduct marriages. He submitted that the conduct of marriages and issuance of certificates are statutorily the job of the local governments as provided by the law.
The judge added that the acts of the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Interior, operating marriage registries is beyond their powers and held that all marriages conducted by federal marriage registries or through their agents are illegal and invalid.
There has been a legal battle between some local government areas in Nigeria against the Federal Government over who has the power to operate marriage registries, conduct marriages and issue marriage certificates.
The LGAs had insisted that their power to register marriages was being taken over by the federal government through the Ministry of Interior.
This prompted the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State to approach the court, where it sought an order to take over the popular Ikoyi Marriage Registry being operated by the Ministry of Interior, on the grounds that the Federal Government, through the ministry, had no business operating a marriage registry.
All the people who had their court marriages conducted at Ikoyi registry and other federal marriage registries in Nigeria without traditional marriage rites, or had traditional marriages that were tagged improper, unacceptable, disqualified, disapproved, or annulled traditional marriage rites are today not recognized as legally married couples?
Does that mean they’ve to remarry to be officially recognized as married Couples? And those who got married in Ikoyi Registry and later went back to Ikoyi Marriage Registry for the annulment of the marriage should count themselves lucky to be officially and legally NEVER MARRIED?
I don’t think this judgement is all about Ikoyi court. I think it affects all marriage conducted and certified by any federal court in Nigeria.
The reason is that it’s not in the federal court jurisdiction to certify marriages. It’s the duty of the local government courts to certify marriages.
For those marriages affected by this judgement and if the couples are still interested in being legally married should go to the local government marriage registries and remarry.
For those who have no reason or interest to remain in their failed marriages should be happy that the long journey of divorce or annulment has been made very easy and short for them through this federal high court judgement.
Some are smiling and some are crying. That’s Nigeria jagajaga for you.
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