Marriage Registrars across the 23 local government has frowned at the rate of marriage failures in the country and blamed trend to inability to couples to conduct customary marriages.
A Customary marriage registrar Mrs. Joy Chinda who spoke on behalf of the Women Educators Association of Nigeria said though customary marriages are conducted according to law and tradition of the people but its recognized in the constitution.
She said it is wrong for the customary court of appeal to be conducting marriages without recourse to Laws and tradition of the people. ‘’the customary court cannot adjudicate and prosecute at the same time, meaning they cannot be conducting marriages and at the same time be separating marriages when issues occur.’’
Also speaking at the Women Educators Association of Nigeria on the reviews of customary court acts held in Port Harcourt, a director of planning Ministry of Local Government affairs, Samuel Nwokugha also frowned at the customary registration of marriages by ministry of interior as opposed to the law. He said due to the funds involved in marriage registration. Ministry of interior and customary court have refused to allow local government authority to perform her function of marriage registration thereby depriving local government authorities of their legitimate sources of revenue.
Our correspondent reports that the forum agreed that the importance of customary marriages aids in providing data and statistics for national planning and to check Bigamy i.e. to ensure that the woman to which you wed customarily is the same woman you take to statutory marriage register.
A communique obtained from the forum reads as follows: –The Rivers State Chapter for the conduct and Registration of marriages in Nigeria Held on the 26th February 2020 at the National Union of Journalism Ernest Ikoli Press Center Mosco Road. Port Harcourt.
That all marriage registration is the exclusive right of the Local Government Council which include Marriage an interactive forum organized by MIRA Services Crest with the Local Government Marriage Registrars Der Act and the issuance of marriage certificates.
That no parasitatal or government ministries or agencies have right to conduct and or register marriages.
That the Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal has no right to contract or issue marriage certificates as they have the exclusive power to adjudicate among others on customary marriage cause.
That Local Government Marriage Registries have data of all the marriages contracted /registered.
That there should be a continuation from Customary Law Marriage to Statutory Marriage which can be adequately handled by the Local Government Marriage Registries.
That registration of marriage does not necessarily mean only record keeping but includes conduct / celebration of marriage.
That licence of place of religious place of worship for conduct of marriage is a delegated responsibility shared by the Federal Ministry of Interior and the Permanent Secretary of State in charge of marriages (Ministry of Local Government Affairs)