Justice D.E. Osaigor held that it was unconstitutional for the Federal Government to conduct marriages through the Ministry of Interior.
This is because according to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), only the Local Government can issue a valid marriage certificate.
This issue has been in contention for quite some time. In May 17, 2018, in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1760/16, the Federal High Court restrained the Ministry of Interior from issuing marriage certificates as they are not empowered to do so, but this has not discouraged couples from using federal registries.
The Federal High Court has now put its foot down and laid the matter to rest on whether a marriage can be conducted by the Ministry of Interior.
The Eti-Osa Local Government area of Lagos State had taken the Ministry of Interior and Attorney General of the Federation to court in Suit No FHC/ LS/CS/816/18 arguing that the Ministry was taking over the power of the Local Government to conduct marriages and issue certificates.
In their prayers, they asked the court to declare that the Federal Government cannot conduct marriages and to close all marriage registries opened by the Ministry of Interior including the popular Ikoyi Registry.
The court granted all their prayers, meaning only marriages conducted by local governments are valid.
What is the status of marriages already conducted at registries created by the Ministry of Interior?
Well, the law provides that if the laid procedure for marriage is not adhered to, the status of that marriage is void, as if a marriage had not taken place.
It is a common saying in law that ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
Source – Pulse NG