The appellate court, in two decisions, overturned the December 8, 2021 judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos which barred the FG from further registering of marriages contracted or celebrated under the Marriage Act, 2004 in some local Government Council Areas in the country.
The court’s three-member panel, which was made up of Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada (who presided), Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar, and Justice Fredrick Eziakpono Oho, unanimously decided that no one branch of government has the sole power to arrange and celebrate a couple’s marriage.
The Lagos-based Court of Appeal ruled that prospective couples’ marriages might be celebrated, entered into by agreement, and registered by the Federal Government and Local Government Councils.
The Federal High Court had, in the 2021 judgment by Justice Daniel Osiagor, restrained the Minister of Interior and/or either by his privies, agents or delegates from further registering marriages contracted or celebrated under the Marriage Act, 2004 within the Plaintiffs’ Local Government Councils Area.
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The judge made the decision in a suit jointly filed by Eti-Osa Local Government, Lagos State, Egbor Local Government, Edo State.
Also, Owerri Municipal Local Government, Imo State and Port-Harcourt City Local Government also joined in the suit filed against the Minister of Interior, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), and Anchor Dataware Solution Limited.
‘‘I am, therefore, of the considered view that the restriction imposed by the lower court directing the 1st cross respondent to only conduct, celebrate, and contract marriages in the marriage registries situate at Ikoyi, Lagos and Federal Capital Territory Abuja is wrong and erroneous,” he ruled.