The Federal Government has dismissed claims that marriages conducted in the Ikoyi Marriage Registry were null and void owing to an order of Lagos High Court.
Bola Odugbesan, Director of Legal, Ministry of Interior, made the clarification in a statement in Abuja on Friday, while reacting to a press statement released on Thursday by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Bisi Olufuwa.
Dismissing the claims, Odugbesan presented a copy of the judgment by Obiozor, who described the case as “an abuse of court process” and struck it out.
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 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,” the director explained.
Odugbesan insisted that the Federal High Court never ordered the closure of Ikoyi Marriage Registry, as claimed by Olufuwa.