In keeping with its new regulation in registration of marriages and need to ensure uniformity in the conduct of statutory marriages across the country, the Federal Government has declared intention to set establish marriage registries in all the 36 state capitals
Georgina Ehuriah, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, stated this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while declaring open a one-day sensitization conference on the conduct of statutory marriages in Nigeria with the theme: “Achieving Harmonious Compliance in the Conduct of Statutory Marriage in Nigeria”.
She said that arrangements are underway to establish new federal marriage registries in Umuahia, Abia State capital and Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, to address the challenges faced by couples in the South-South and South East zones
According to her, the “ Ministry is presently considering some of the recommendations made by stakeholders in the course of the conference like, extending the validity period for licences issued to places of worship for the celebration of marriages as well as downward review of the fees payable by couples for conduct of statutory marriages in federal marriage registries”.
The ministry had pegged the fee at N 21,000, which attracted outrage by Nigerians.
Mrs. Ehuriah said that “machinery has also been put in place for the amendment of the Marriage Act to adequately meet the needs of the 21st century”.
The Registrar General of Marriages in Nigeria disclosed further that, arrangements are on to give couples whose certificate were not issued in line with the Act the opportunity to bring them to conformity.
The Ministry she said is exploring the possibility of integrating the marriage registries operated by local governments into its online platform so as to bring them in conformity with the Marriage Act.
In his welcome speech, the Director, Citizenship & Business Department, of the Interior, Mr. Stephen Okon stated that the conference was necessitated by the
challenges faced by citizens because of wrong documentation of their marriages which have led to series of litigations.
He said that the conference is aimed at creating more awareness on issues surrounding conduct of valid statutory marriage as well as bringing about conformity with the law and uniformity in the activities of the Marriage Registries across the nation.
According to a statement signed by Mohammed Manga, director press in the ministry, Okon called for synergy among stakeholders to build a harmonious collaboration that would help in resolving issues militating against the sanctity in the conduct and documentation of statutory marriages in the country.
The event which marks the end of the first round of the workshop on the conduct of statutory marriages in the country, have earlier been held in Abuja and Lagos for the North and Western zones.