Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola over the weekend reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring the good conduct of statutory marriages in the country.
Aregbesola, made this known at the 2021 National Stakeholders’ Conference on the Administration of Statutory Marriage, in Abuja
This was even ass the Minister stated that lingering disagreement between the ministry and the Local Government Registrars of Marriage has been put to rest.
Represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Shuaib Belgore, the minister noted that the ministry was responsible for the conduct of statutory marriages in Nigeria, as well as licensing of public places of worship for the celebration of statutory marriages.
“This conference is one of many more to come, aimed at continuously educating and informing the public on the importance of statutory marriages and the statutorily recognised Certificate of Marriage (FORM E).
“The conference is to also inform stakeholders about various innovations in the administration of statutory marriages and to provide a platform for a robust exchange of ideas that will promote the institution of marriage.
“The Marriage Act, which was originally enacted in 1914 by the British colonial masters, is the legislation that provides the procedures for the conduct of statutory marriages in Nigeria.
“However, the Act has been amended several times with the latest version being 2004.
“It is my utmost pleasure, therefore, to inform you about one of the major achievements of the ministry, which is the successful review of the contents of the 2nd Schedule to the Marriage Act known as the Legal Notices.
“The review has brought the Legal Notices in conformity with the present administrative and political realities in Nigeria, while the amendment of other sections of the Marriage Act is ongoing“, he said.
Aregbesola expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his swift endorsement and approval of the amended Legal Notices, as contained in the Marriage Act CAP M6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
This, he said, had also put to rest, the lingering disagreement between the ministry and the Local Government Registrars of Marriage, by designating the Local Government Areas and Area Development Councils of the Federal Capital Territory as Marriage Districts.
“The beauty of this arrangement is that it brings the services of the ministry, via the Marriage Registries, closer to the grassroots, thus reducing the need to travel relatively long distances to get married at a Federal Marriage Registry.
“This new regime entails strict adherence to the administrative and statutory procedures in the conduct of statutory marriages.
“To achieve this, the Ministry has created an Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation (EI&I) division whose function is to ensure that Places of Worship and Marriage Registries comply with the provisions of the Marriage Act; thereby, engendering a pleasant marriage experience for couples.
“It is in furtherance of this amendment that the ministry deemed it necessary to inform stakeholders and enlighten the general public on some new guidelines and important aspects of the administration and conduct of Statutory Marriages.
“Some of these are that the ministry of Interior has the sole regulatory responsibility for the issuance of licenses to public places of worship for the conduct of statutory marriages in Nigeria.
“Local Government Councils, who have recently been designated as Marriage Districts, may now nominate officers as Local Government Registrars of Marriage and must procure Marriage Certificate booklets from the Ministry of Interior“.