The Federal Government has indicated its intention to establish marriage registries in the country’s 36 state capitals. This, it said, would guarantee consistency throughout the nation in the behavior of statutory marriages.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah, broke the news on Thursday in Port Harcourt, the River State capital, while opening a sensitisation 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 arrangements were also underway to establish new Federal marriage registries in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, and Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, to address the challenges faced by couples in the Southsouth and Southeast.
Ehuriah said: “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 the conduct of statutory marriages in Federal marriage registries.”
She added that “a 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 said arrangements were being made to give couples, whose certificate were not issued in line with the Act, the opportunity to bring them to conformity.
According to her, the ministry is exploring the possibility of integrating the marriage registries operated by local government areas into its online platform to make them conform with the Marriage Act.
A statement by the Director (Press and Public Relations) in the ministry, Mohammed Manga, quoted the Director of Citizenship and Business Department, Mr. Stephen Okon, as saying the conference was necessitated by the challenges faced by citizens because of wrong documentation of their marriages.
The director said this had led to series of litigations.
According to him, the conference is aimed at creating more awareness on issues surrounding the 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.
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 marked the end of the workshop’s first round on the country’s behavior of statutory marriages.
It had previously been conducted for the North and Western areas in Abuja and Lagos.