Friday 18 May 2018

FG counters court, says marriages done at Ikoyi registry legal

The Federal Government has faulted claims by the Lagos State Government that a Federal High Court had shut down the Ikoyi marriage registry, insisting that the report was false.
READ: Married done at Ikoyi registry are illegal - Court
The Ministry of Interior said that the court, presided over by Justice Chuka Obiozor, simply upheld the judgment of a Federal High Court delivered in 2002, which was not appealed .

It explained that the case, Suit No: FHC/L/CS /1760/16, between Egor Local Government Area, Edo State and three others Vs. Ministry of Interior & others, cited by the Lagos State Government, was actually struck out by Justice Obiozor in his judgment delivered on April 30, 2018 .

The Director of Legal, Ministry of Interior, Bola Odugbesan, made the clarification in a statement in Abuja, in reaction to a press statement on Thursday by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Bisi Olufuwa. 

Clarifying what transpired in the suit , Odugbesan said “In the case , the court was invited to interpret the provisions of the Constitution conferring on local governments the powers to register marriages . The Minister of Interior, through his Counsel, Bola Odugbesan , argued that under item 61 of the Exclusive List , matters connected with marriage under the Marriage Act , issuing of marriage certificate and its registration are outside the purview of state and / or local governments. The Federal High Court in its judgment dated April 30 , 2018 , struck out the case of the plaintiffs , i . e. , Egor LGA & Ors .The court held that the case is an abuse of the court process in view of the earlier judgment of the court in 2002 , which upheld the sanctity of the rights of the minister to issue licences to places of worship to conduct marriages, and the registrar under the Marriage Act to register marriages . It is instructive to note that Lagos State was not a party in the case. 

Odugbesan insisted that the Federal High Court never ordered the closure of Ikoyi Marriage Registry, as claimed by Olufuwa.

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