The Federal government plans to unify all marriage certificate issued by all license bodies in Nigeria. This was disclosed by the Permanent secretary, Ministry of interior, Barrister Georgina E. Ehuriah at the stakeholders conference on the conduct of statutory marriage in Lagos at the weekend.
Barrister Ehuriah stated that the Nigerian law envisages 3 types of marriages namely traditional/customary marriage, Church/Islamic marriages and statutory marriage and unlike the first two, the procedures , role and function of key players in the conduct of statutory marriages are purely constitutional and guided by relevant law , therefore the need to harmonise the conduct all.
She also noted that various place of worship who conduct marriages illegally have not help the matters either.
She said: “Also considered a breach of the Marriage Act is the conduct of marriages by places of worship that have not been duly licensed by the Ministry of Interior as stated in section 23 of the Marriage Act”.
Further stating that only 4,725 places of worship have updated their records with the ministry and only 314 have renewed their licenses to conduct statutory marriages.
The permanent secretary said the one day Stakeholders Conference which is the second edition will address issues related to marriage such as:
*the poor understanding of the marriage act leading to the non adherence to its provisions
* Proliferation of Certificates of marriage and other essential marriage documents
*the raging controversy between the local government and the ministry of interior who are constitutionally mandated with this role
*Inadequate number of marriage registries to service the needs of intending couples desirous of contracting statutory marriages nation wide among others.
She also stated that the ministry is presently in the process of opening an annex of the Ikoyi marriage registry in Ikeja and Ibadan to reduce distance for couples.
In his welcoming remark, the Director, Citizenship and Business, Mr. Stephen Okon, said the first of such conference took place in Abuja last week for the stakeholders in the three Northern geo-political zones and the Lagos conference is for stakeholders in the south-west geo-political zone, while the last in the series will take place in Port-Harcourt for south east and south –south geo-political zone will come up soon.