The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah, has announced that the Federal Government has granted approval for the Ikoyi Marriage Registry.
This disclosure was made today at the delivering her keynote address at the stakeholders’ conference on the conduct of statutory marriage themed, ‘Achieving Harmonious Compliance in the Conduct of Statutory Marriage in Nigeria’ held in Lagos.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the decentralisation was made in order to address challenges being faced at the institution.
Ehuriah also explained that apart from granting approval for the establishment of the Ikoyi Marriage Registry Annex by the FGN and other relevant authorities, arrangements are in advanced stages to establish a Marriage Registry at Ikeja, Lagos State, and Ibadan, Oyo State, respectively.
She equally announced that the FGN has introduced a new Federal Marriage Certificate for all types of marriages in the country.
The Permanent Secretary explained that existing couples who do not have their certificate issued by the Ministry of Interior are advised to visit the ministry’s website to re-certify their marriage certificates.
Ehuriah said, “Not all places of worship are permitted to conduct marriages.
“Nigerians are advised to ensure that their marriages are conducted in places licensed by the Ministry of Interior.
The Permanent Secretary insisted that it remained a breach of the Marriage Act if marriages are conducted by places of worship that have not been duly licensed by the Ministry of Interior as stated in Section 23 of the Marriage Act.
Speaking further, Ehuriah also noted any marriage certificate not printed and delivered by the Principal Registrar of Marriages is illegal and cannot serve the desired purposes.
While insisting that marriages conducted in unlicensed places of worship are not in line with the Marriage Act and cannot serve legal purposes when the need arises, Ehuriah maintained that such unlicensed places of worship are operating contrary to Section 6(1) of the Marriage Act.
According to her, “The Ministry of Interior is statutorily responsible for the administration of Marriage Registries, licensing of places of worship for celebration of marriages and ensuring that statutory marriages are conducted in accordance with the Marriage Act 1990, Cap 218, LFN and as elaborated in Marriage Act Cap M6, LFN 2004 as amended.
“Marriage is an important institution that plays a major role in social stability and sustainability of humanity.
“In realisation of its importance, governments in every nation put in place administrative and legal structures to ensure the realisation of these societal mandates.
“In Nigeria for instance, this arrangement was put in place through the enactment of the Marriage Act in 1914, the same year the Nigeria state came into being.”
“Presently, only about 4,689 licensed places of worship in Nigeria have updated their records with the Ministry of Interior; 314 have renewed their licenses to conduct statutory marriages,” she said.
The Interior Ministry according to Ehuriah is building a database for all statutory marriages conducted in Nigeria.
“It has also developed a database for all places of worship licensed for celebration of marriages.
“This will enable the ministry to be in a good position to respond to enquiries from various interested parties from within and outside Nigeria,” Ehuriah added.