A Lagos High Court has barred local government areas from conducting marriages across the country. The court, in a judgment, declared that the Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate was unknown to law and therefore unconstitutional, null and void. The court further declared that Local Governments did not have the powers to issue modified or customised marriage certificates different from the one provided in Form E under section 24 of the Marriage Act.

The court further stated that while registration of marriage is regulated by local government being under the concurrent list, formation of marriage is under the exclusive list within the domain of the Federal Government regulated by the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs-item 6 of 2nd schedule of 1999 constitution. The judge further pointed out that a marriage had been declared invalid by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it was not in line with Form E as provided by the Marriage Act.

Based on the foregoing, the court concluded that “It is thus trite that the local and state government cannot make separate arrangements outside that provided for in the Marriage Act, that is Form E,” and accordingly ordered that “there should be a re-issuance of the proper certificate to all persons in possession of the ‘invalid’ certificates.”

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