The Association of Local Governments Marriage Registrars of Nigeria (ALGMRN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to caution the current Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, his Permanent Secretary and the entire Ministry and end the chaos being created over marriage registry controversy.
The body insisted that local government areas in the country have the exclusive power to register marriages, contrary to the claim of the Ministry of Interior.
The Ministry and local government councils in Nigeria had dissagreed over responsible for the registration of statutory marriages in Nigeria.
While the Ministry said the third tie of government lacked the constitutional power to register marriage, the council said otherwise.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja Thursday, President and secretary of the Association of Local Governments Marriage Registrars of Nigeria Sokeye Deji and Chinda Joy Ruhuoma, said the publications in some national dailies by the Ministry of Interior which were warning Nigerians not to register their statutory marriages in the Local Government was “misleading and mischievous.”
However, the local government registrars argued that Section 30(1) of the Constitution and Para 1(i) of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution gave Local Government the exclusive jurisdiction to register marriages.
“It is quite surprising and even a flagrant disobedience to the decision of the Federal High Court concerning this matter in suit No: FHC/LCS/1760/16, in EGOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT & 3 ORS V. MINISTER OF INTERIOR & ANOR which reaffirmed the earlier decision by the same court in suit No: FHC/L/870/2002 in HAASTRUP & ANOR v ETI OSA LOCAL GVT & 2 ORS where the court held that it was in the past that power to issue or grant licences was within the exclusive power of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (now Ministry of Interior),” the association added.
The body went further to caution the Ministry of Interior to stop misleading the public with the claim that Item 7 to the fourth schedule to the constitution, which states that “…the functions of the Local Government include: Registration of all births, deaths and marriages”, only required the Local Government Councils to maintain registries to register births, deaths and marriages for record purposes and planning alone.
Deji lamented that foreign embassies in Nigeria had stopped accepting Certificate of Marriage issued by the Local Government Areas in the country, in compliance to the instruction by the Ministry of Interior.
Deji said the association will seek redress in court if other means of resolving the issue failed.