Are Marriages Contracted at Federal Marriage Registries Still Valid?

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By ‘Nonso Azih Esq

Not few Nigerians, both married and unmarried are concerned over the news making the rounds that marriages contracted or celebrated at Registries of Federal Ministry of Interior might have become invalid.

While we await to review the full text of the decision of the Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/816/2018 between Eti-Osa LG v Ministry of Interior, Hon. Minster of Interior & A.G Attorney-General of the Federation, wherein it’s been widely reported in the news media that the Federal High Court per Hon. Justice D.E Osiagor allegedly declared all marriages contracted or celebrated at the registries of the Federal Ministry of Interior as invalid, please note that the law as held by the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/870/2002 and endorsed by Hon. Justice Prof. Chuka Obiozor J of same court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1760/2016 before the purported development is that a valid marriage can be conducted by:

1. Registrars in places designated as office.

2. Recognised ministers of religion in a licensed place of worship.

3. A licence issued by the DG of Ministry of Internal Affairs, DG of a State Govt in charge of marriages or any officer or the Minister of Interior.

However, as regards REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGES, this is within the exclusive authority of the registrar within the marriage district (Local Government) in accordance with the provisions of Section 30(1) of the Marriage Act and Section 7(5) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999.

So while we await to obtain a certified true copy of the said new judgment, please do not be carried away yet by the media publication pending review and confirmation. If you are in doubt as to the status of your marriage for any reason whatsoever, please consult a family lawyer of your choice.

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‘Nonso Azih Esq.

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