Home Latest Court bars LG from issuing marriage certificates, declares it unconstitutional

Court bars LG from issuing marriage certificates, declares it unconstitutional

271
0
SHARE

A Lagos High Court has barred local government areas from conducting marriages across the country.

The court declared that the Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate was unknown to law and therefore unconstitutional, null and void.

Justice I.O. Harrison said in her judgement delivered on May 15, 2017, that the issuance of modified or customised marriage certificate by local government areas contravened Section 24 of the Marriage Act and Item 6, Part 1, 2nd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which lists marriage on the Exclusive Legislative List.

The plaintiff, Olamide Babalola, representing himself and other recipients of modified marriage certificates from the local governments, had dragged the Ikeja Local Government and Registered Trustees of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria before the court over the modified marriage certificate issued by the first and second defendants.

The plaintiff had sought a declaration that the first defendant did not have the powers to issue modified or customised marriage certificates different from the one provided in Form E under Section 24 of the Marriage Act Laws of Federation of Nigeria,1990.

Babalola also prayed for a declaration that the second defendant’s Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate was unknown to law and unconstitutional.

He equally wanted a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, officers, employees and representatives from further issuing modified or altered marriage certificates apart from the form as provided under Form E (1st schedule) and Section 24 of the Marriage Act, LFN, 1990.

Harrison, in her judgment, declared that the first defendant did not have the powers to issue modified or customised marriage certificates different from the one provided in Form E under section 24 of the Marriage Act.

She said, “The court thus orders as follows: declaration that the second defendant’s ‘Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate’ is unknown to our law, unconstitutional, null and void.

“A perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants their agents, officers, employees and representatives from further issuing modified or altered marriage certificates apart from the form as provided under Form E (1st schedule) and Section 24 of the Marriage Act, LFN, 1990.

“A perpetual injunction, restraining the second defendant, their agents, officers, employees and representatives from further issuing Modified Local Government Unified Marriage Certificates.”

“It is thus trite that the local and state government cannot make separate arrangements outside that provided for in the Marriage Act, that is Form E,” Harrison ruled.

The court however added that the marriages conducted by local governments and issued with the certificates, which are not in conformity with Form E, “will by virtue of Section 34 of the Marriage Act be regarded as good and valid in law to all intents and purposes.”

It “believes that there should be a re-issuance of the proper certificate to all persons in possession of the ‘invalid’ certificates.”

The judgment read in part, “The court will further consequentially order that all such modified marriage certificates issued by the first and second defendants be surrendered to the appropriate local government where the marriage was conducted and appropriate certificate, in line with Form E, should be reissued to the claimants herein and all other concerned persons.”

The judge said the second defendant and its branches issued their own form known as the Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate, which was also issued to the claimant by the first defendant.

Following the judgment, the Federal Government has written to the various embassies in the country not to recognise marriages conducted by local governments.

A director in the Ministry of Interior, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the embassies were asked not to issue visas to applicants with local government marriage certificates in line with the court order.

“Most of the marriages conducted by local government registries are sham and were merely used to obtain visas by desperate Nigerians. We have written to the embassies not to give out visas based on such marriage certificates,” he said.

Source: Punch

Facebook Comments

comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.