Permanent Secretary and Principal Registrar of Marriages, Ministry Of Interior, in a statement released on Tuesday evening, December 14, described the report as “false, misleading and a deliberate distortion of the decision of the Court in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/816/18 between Eti-Osa Local Government Council & 3 others”.
The statements read;
The attention of the Ministry of Interior has been drawn to news making the rounds on social media claiming that the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has declared all Marriages conducted by Ikoyi marriage registry to be illegal and invalid.
We would like to state that this statement is false, misleading and a deliberate distortion of the decision of the Court in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/816/18 between Eti-Osa Local Government Council & 3 others.
Honourable Minister of Interior and 2 others, where the Honourable Court held that only the Local Government councils can conduct valid marriages in Nigeria.
It is noteworthy that, the same Federal High Court situated in Ikoyi, Lagos in Suit No. FHC/L/870/2002 between Prince Haastrup and Eti Osa Local Government held that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Interior is constitutionally empowered to conduct marriages in Nigeria and held that the Local Governments were delegated by the Federal Government to conduct marriages, by virtue of Legal Notices issued pursuant to the Marriage Act.
In that case, the learned trial judge held that nothing in the role of local governments, as defined in the Constitution, suggests that local governments can conduct or contract marriages as alleged in their pleadings. The Court affirmed that powers of the local governments to contract statutory marriages is derived from the Legal Notices issued by the President.
The Court also confirmed that the role of local governments, as enshrined in the Constitution is limited to registration of all forms of marriages (including Islamic and customary marriages).