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FG warns churches against issuance of illegal marriage certificates

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[FILE PHOTO] Couple holding flowers

The Federal Government has cautioned churches in the country against the issuance of marriage certificates that are not recognised by the government.

Speaking in Port Harcourt yesterday at a Stakeholders’ Conference on Conduct of Statutory Marriages, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah, said that the government was building a database of all statutory marriages conducted in the country.

She disclosed that out of 4,725 worship places, which updated their records with the ministry, only 314 renewed their license to conduct statutory marriages.

The implication, she noted, is that any certificate not printed and delivered by the Principal Registrar of Marriages in the country is illegal and cannot serve the desired purposes.

Her words: “Presently, only about 4,725 licensed places of worship in Nigeria have updated their records with the Ministry of Interior, of which only 314 have renewed their licenses to conduct statutory marriages.”

Ehuriah described any marriage conducted in a place of worship not licensed by the ministry as a breach of Marriage Act.

However, the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) and the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA) have kicked against stringent policies that would hamper the rights of worshippers, making it difficult for people to get married.

National secretary of FIDA, Evelyn Asimia, described some of the guidelines and principles of the ministry as unfriendly and called for a review.

She added that stakeholders were not consulted before such policies were made.

In the same vein, Rivers State chairman of CAN, Stanley Dimkpa, called on the government to make it affordable and easy for the Christian communities in the society to get married legally.


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