Nigeria is such a complex place to be in. The common man makes complex Government decisions look ordinary, whilst the government make ordinary government decisions very complex for the common man. 

Paragraph 61, Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) placed the “formation, annulment and dissolution of marriages other than marriage under Islamic law and Customary law including matrimonial causes relating thereto” within the exclusive legislative purview of the Federal Government. In the same vein, paragraph 1(i) of the 4th Schedule empowered by S.7(5) of the same constitution allows the Local Government to register all birth, death and Marriage. 

In interpreting the above provisions of our constitution, our various courts starting from the case of Egor Local Government Area of Edo state & 3 Ors vs Ministry of Interior & Ors) filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos following in an earlier judgement of the same court in 2002 held that issuance of a marriage certificate and the registration of places of marriage are outside the purview of state and/or local governments. 

This was also the decision of Hon. Justice Harrison of the Lagos State High Court in Olumide Babalola vs. Ikeja Local Government & Registered Trustees of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria delivered on the 15th of May, 2017 No wonder people go marry for church and still go Ikoyi Registry for another marriage. I call it Marriage of Conflicting Certificates, even as Embassies no recognize most marriage certificate for Nigeria. 

To harmonize these conflicts generated by the above judgements and the squabbles between the Federal Marriage Registries, the various Local Government and Pentecostal Churches, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari in furtherance of the powers conferred on him by S. 3 of the Marrige Act Cap M6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 on the 22nd day of March, 2021 signed and gazetted a Legal Notice No. 55 & 56 Vol 108 empowering all Local Government Area and Area Council listed in the 1st Schedule to the Constitution as designated Marriage District. The Notice also empowers officers of these Local Government Areas and Area Council not below the rank of Principal Executive Officers or Senior Executive Officers as Registrar or Deputy Registrar as the case may be. 

With the above Legal Notices, even the various Churches can now apply to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Interior and get approval to issue valid secure Federal Government Marriage Certificate to couples, no need for everyone to rush to Ikoyi, even if e go comot food from boy’s mouth for those federal marriage registries. 

With the legal framework in place, all that is required however now is for the Ministry of Interior to ensure the proper workability of the modalities and operational nuances needed to ensure that the certifications issued by all are harmonized and unified by the government for purposes of verification and proper monitoring.


 But e be like say typical of everything Nigeria, the Minister  of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeshola don de confuse or him no know wetin to do again because na since March Mr. President sign this Notice and as Nigerians de wait for this good development, light off from Ogbeni side as forward him Ministry no go, backward e no come. Even the local government people now no even know wetin to do again. 

You can’t light a lamp and hide it under a bushel, which is what the Ministry is doing to a rule that should ordinarily help promote this government, given the daily negative news about the government. As some people at the Local Government asked, the Minister still de learn the rope (remember the Minister upon his appointment said he was here or willing to learn) or him Ministry de work at cross purpose with the President plans and programme. I no think so, because this same Ministry in 2020 before the appointment of the current Minister conducted a stakeholders forum in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt where they initiated these moves to harmonize and unify Marrige Certifications in Nigeria. 

I will therefore advocate that statutory marriage which ordinarily is a thing of joy should not be made stressful and cumbersome by government motion without movement.

The Ministry of Interior should as a matter of urgency set up it machinery to ensure the availability of the harmonized secure certification with the Local Governments and the public places of worship licensed by the Ministry. Especially since our inquiry made at the Federal Marriage Registry, Ikoyi revealed that the Ministry’s portal for marriage services delivery ( has been remodelled by its technology service partner to accommodate this simultaneously both at the Federal Marriage Registries, Local Government Registries, Area councils as well as Licensed places of worship without any hitch.

 If this is true, the Ministry should make haste to let this commence without further delay in order to solve this lockdown where only marriage certificates issued in Orthodox Churches and Ikoyi Registry are recognized by foreign missions in Nigeria.

Also, as Advocate General of the Federation (AGF) my advocacy to those in charge is, if you don’t want to be forgotten as soon as you leave office, it’s not how many jobs you created for your boys, but the satisfaction you put on the faces of those you swore to serve.

 v Liborous Oshoma Esq., is a arrister-at-law, and a public policy analyst.

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