ABUJA (Min of Interior) – The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Interior, Barr. Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, has said that the Ministry has put in place a machinery to commence the process to amend the Marriage Act in order to meet citizens needs, in line with the current trends.
She disclosed this at a one day stakeholders Conference on the Conduct of Statutory Marriage, held in Abuja, recently.
Barr. Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, revealed that arrangements were ongoing to give couples whose marriage certificates were not issued in line with the Act, the opportunity to bring them to conformity.
According to her, with the machinery in place, the Ministry would advise the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the legally accepted certificate, for the guidance of Foreign Embassies in Nigeria and Nigeria Missions abroad.
The Permanent Secretary who doubles as Principal Registrar of Marriages in Nigeria, explained further that the Ministry’s decision to organise the conference was borne out of experience in the discharge of its duties.
According to her, this points to the fact that there are extant issues in the administration of the conduct of statutory marriages, which require joint attention of key stakeholders; she admonished that marriage was an important institution that played a major role in social stability as well as sustainability of humanity.
She stated further, that poor understanding of the Marriage Act had led to non-adherence of its provisions, proliferation of certificates of marriage and other essential marriage documents.
She noted that the Nigerian law approves three types of marriages:- Traditional/Customary, Church/Islamic and Statutory. She explained that unlike the other two, the procedure, the role and functions of the key players in the conduct of Statutory Marriage is purely constitutional and guided by relevant laws. The Marriage Act Cap M6 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004, as amended, is the principal Act upon which statutory marriages are conducted, legalised and adjudicated in Nigeria, she stated.
The Permanent Secretary said that a breach of the Marriage Act is the conduct of marriages by places of worship that have not been duly licensed by the Ministry as stated in Section 23 of the Marriage Act.
The implication of this, she said, was that marriages conducted in unlicensed places of worship were not in line with the Act and could not serve legal purpose when the need arises.
Director (Press & Public Relations)
For: Permanent Secretary