‘LGAs statutorily responsible for conducting weddings’ — court rules on suit against Ikoyi registry

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A federal high court in Lagos has ruled that the LG councils are statutorily responsible for issuing marriage certificates in Nigeria.

Eti Osa LGA of Lagos state had in a suit marked FHC/ LS/CS/816/18 taken the ministry of interior to court challenging its power to operate marriage registries, conduct weddings and issue marriage certificates.In the suit which also had the attorney-general of the federation joined as a defendant, the LGA asked the court to declare that the federal government has no business in conducting marriages and issuing marriage certificates.

The plaintiffs also prayed the court to order the closure of all marriage registries opened and operated by the federal ministry of interior or any of their agents, including the Ikoyi registry.Delivering judgment in favour of the plaintiffs, Daniel Osaigor, a federal high court judge, agreed that local governments are statutorily empowered to conduct weddings and issue certificates.

Court annulled all weddings conducted by the Ikoyi Registry.In 2018, Chuka Obiozor, judge of a Lagos high court, while delivering judgment in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/1760/16, issued a restraining order against Ikoyi registry from conducting marriages, saying it is unconstitutional for the federal government to perform the duties of the state and local governments.

The judge held that marriage registries in the local government and local council development areas of Lagos state are the authentic and legally-binding government divisions established to carry out such functions.

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