In a bid to bring Federal Marriage Registry closer to the grassroots, the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the establishment of additional twenty (20) new Federal Marriage Registries across the country, adding that efforts were ongoing to have Federal Marriage Registries in all the State Capitals of the Federation.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola disclosed this at a National Stakeholders’ Conference on the Administration and Conduct of Statutory Marriage in Nigeria, in Abuja.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Shuaib Belgore stated that the Conference was necessitated by need for the Ministry to inform stakeholders and enlighten the general public about some new guidelines and important aspects about the administration and conduct of Statutory Marriage in the country, as well as the amended Legal Notices in the Marriage Act.
According to him, the amended Legal Notices has changed the dynamics of the administration and conduct of statutory marriages in Nigeria and has 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 this 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,” Aregbesola said.
Some of these guidelines include:
i. 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
ii. Local Government Councils that 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;
iii. The nomination of Local Government Registrars of Marriage and the Deputies by the Local Government Authorities should be endorsed and registered by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior who is the Principal Registrar of Marriages in Nigeria.
iv. The printing and issuance of Marriage Certificate Booklets to licensed Places of Worship and Marriage Registries is the sole responsibility of the Principal Registrar of Marriages;
v. The Ministry of Interior has the sole authority to issue the only valid and legally recognised Certificate of Marriage known as “FORM E,” he disclosed.
The Principal Registrar of Marriages in Nigeria, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, noted that he was duty bound to ensuring the implementation of the provisions of the Marriage Act with regard to the administration and conduct of Statutory Marriages.
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. It has been amended several times with the latest version being 2004,” he added.
Belgore stressed that the new regime, entails strict adherence to the administrative and statutory procedures in the conduct of statutory marriages.
He noted further that 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, thus engendering a pleasant Marriage experience for couples.