The court of appeal in Lagos has nullified the judgment of a federal high court which restrained the federal government from further registering marriages within some local government councils in the country.
In a suit marked FHC/ LS/CS/816/18, Eti Osa LGA of Lagos state had taken the ministry of interior to court, challenging its power to operate marriage registries, conduct weddings and issue marriage certificates.
Other plaintiffs in the suit include Egbor LGA, Edo state; Owerri Municipal LGA, Imo state; and Port Harcourt City LGA, Rivers state.
Delivering judgment on December 8, 2021, Daniel Osiagor, a federal high court judge, agreed that local governments are statutorily empowered to conduct weddings and issue certificates.
According to the Cable, the high court judge restrained the minister of interior and/or either by his privies, agents or delegates from further registering marriages contracted or celebrated under the Marriage Act, Cap. M6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004, within the plaintiffs’ local government areas.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the ministry of interior approached the court of appeal.
The court of appeal in its judgement delivered on August 2, held that federal and local government councils have the legal authority to celebrate, contract and register marriages between prospective couples.
A three-member panel of the court held that no tier of government has the exclusive preserve to contract and celebrate marriages between prospective couples.
“I am therefore of the considered view that the restriction imposed by the lower court directing the 1st Cross Respondent to only conduct, celebrate and contract marriages in the marriage registries situated at Ikoyi, Lagos, and Federal Capital Territory Abuja is wrong and erroneous,” the court held.