The Federal Government says it has established 20 new federal marriage registries across the country.
This was disclosed at a national stakeholders’ conference on the administration and conduct of statutory marriage in Nigeria, which held in Abuja on Friday.
Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, represented by Shuaib Belgore, the Permanent Secretary, said the conference was necessitated by the need to inform stakeholders about some new guidelines and important aspects about the administration and conduct of statutory marriage in the country.
The minister said the new amended legal notices will put an end to the lingering disagreement between the ministry and local government registrars of marriage by designating the local government areas and area development councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as marriage districts.
He said efforts are being made to have federal marriage registries in all the state capitals of the federation.
“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.
The minister also highlighted some of the new guidelines.
“The Ministry of Interior has the sole regulatory responsibility for the issuance of licences to public places of worship for the conduct of statutory marriages in Nigeria,” he said.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“The Ministry of Interior has the sole authority to issue the only valid and legally recognised certificate of marriage known as ‘Form E’.”
The Permanent Secretary added that the ministry has created an enforcement, inspection and investigation (EI&I) division whose function is to ensure that worship centres and marriage registries comply with the provisions of the marriage act.