The Federal Government’s owned Registry in Ikoyi has been barred from conducting marriages henceforth as such act will be considered unconstitutional.
Delivering judgement in favour of the Lagos State Government, Justice (Prof.) Chuka Aunstine Obiozor with the reference number SUIT NO: FHC/L/CS/1760/16 of Lagos High Court on Monday 30th of April 2018, reaffirmed that all the marriage registries in the Local Government and Local Council Development Areas in Lagos are the authentic and legally-binding government division established to carry out such function.
Addressing a Press Conference on the development on Thursday, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Muslim Folami said the Ministry was in the process of officially communicating the development to the various embassies in the State, stressing that the decision of the court was supreme and was legally binding on all, the embassies inclusive.
He added that the news conference was strategically necessary in order to intimate the various embassies resident in Lagos State, the general public and the country at large that all Marriages conducted and registered in any of the 57 Local Government Areas/ Local Council Development Areas were valid and in accordance with the Marriage Act.
According to him, the judgment would undoubtedly put a stop to the seeming perception of superiority of Ikoyi Marriage Registry over the Local Government Registries.
Folami said that the state government would explore every available windows to enlighten the general public about the development, assuring that the Ministry would not hesitate to schedule meeting with all embassies in the State to enlighten them about the new judgement if the need arose.
“We are going to use the five divisions across the state to sensitize our people and inform them about this latest development. From Epe to Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja and Lagos Island. The sensitization walk which we embarked on today is also a way of creating awareness and letting the people know of this latest development.”
He urged the members of the public to take cognizance of this landmark judgment by patronizing the legal and approved Marriage Registries for the conduct of their marriages.
Folami described the judgement as a landmark, saying that the responsibilities of the LGAs/LCDAs has come back to them by the virtue of the law and as provided for in Section 30 (1) of the Marriage Act and Section 7 (5) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Speaking, the President for Marriage Registrars in all LGs/LCDAs, Deji Sokeye, said the illegal use of power by the Ikoyi Registry had seriously and negatively affected the revenue drive of the various Councils in the State, maintained that the judgement would further restore hope and confidence in the certificates already issued and that would be issued in future by the local government.
He recalled that a similar judgement was delivered in favour of the state government in 2004 but was disregarded by the federal government, stressing that the similar judgement now delivered by Honourable Justice (Prof) Chuka Austine Obiozor showed the disposition of the current administration to the rule of law.
Sokeye disclosed that the State Government had now devised another means of authenticating its seal which now carry red seal with a coded block for all the Council Areas across the State.
Speaking on the authenticity of existing marriage certificates obtained from the local council areas before the new judgment, the president explained that the new certificates that would henceforth be issued by the various council areas did not invalidate the previous certificates.
“There is nothing wrong with the former certificates that did not carry the Red Seal, the Red Seal is just an innovation to the former one and it does not in anyway render the former one invalid,’’ he said.