LGs have powers to register marriages, Council registrars insist

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The controversy over the registration of marriages may be far from over as Local Government Marriage Registrars have said that the Nigerian constitution empowered Local Government Councils to register all types of marriages in the country.

They stated that marriage matters are “exclusive Local Government affairs in Nigeria and other parts of the world,” citing the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and African countries like Ghana, the Gambia, Liberia and Benin, where they said marriages were registered at the local level.

Rising from a national conference held at the Radio House in Abuja on Thursday, the LG marriage registrars advised worship centres and foreign embassies in the country to disregard the circular from the Ministry of Interior directing them to recognize only marriage certificates from federal marriage registries.

Reading a communique at the end of the conference attended by local government registrars from across the country, National President, Body of Marriage Registrars, Deji Sokeye, accused the interior ministry and some state ministries of taking away the functions of the LGs to register marriages.

It read, “It is elementary knowledge that marriage matters are exclusive local government affairs in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

“Nigeria got her independence from Great Britain and up till date, marriage matters remain exclusively matters for the boroughs which are the local governments in that country.

“In the US and Canada, marriage matters are handled by the counties which are the local governments. Same goes for African countries like Ghana, Gambia, Liberia and Benin, neighbouring West African countries to Nigeria; marriages are registered at the local level in these countries.”

“It is on this wisdom that the Nigerian constitution empowers the local governments to register all types of marriages with no exception,” the registrars stressed.

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