WHERE MARRIAGE UNDER THE ACT CAN BE CONDUCTED IN NIGERIA

The Marriage Act stipulates the authorised venues where a marriage can be celebrated.

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

6/13/2022 2 min read

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WHERE MARRIAGE UNDER THE ACT CAN BE CONDUCTED IN NIGERIA?

The Marriage Act stipulates the authorised venues where a marriage can be celebrated. They include Licensed Place of Worship, Marriage Registry before the Registrar of Marriages, any Place Licenced by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Nigerian Diplomatic Mission. They will be examined below.

A. LICENSED PLACE OF WORSHIP

Marriage may be celebrated in any licensed place of worship by any recognised Minister of the Church, denomination or body to which such place of worship belongs, and according to the rites or usages of marriage observed in such church, denomination or body: Provided that the marriage be celebrated with open doors between the hours of eight (8) o'clock in the forenoon and six (6) o'clock in the afternoon, and in the presence of two or more witnesses besides the officiating minister as stipulated by Section 21 Marriage Act. Apart from the celebration of the marriage in a place of worship licensed for that purpose, the person to celebrate the marriage must be a recognised minister of the church, denomination or body. The consequence of breach of this provision is that the marriage would be null and void under Section 33 MA.

B. MARRIAGE REGISTRY BEFORE THE REGISTRAR OF MARRIAGES

Based on Section 27 of the Marriage Act, the parties to the intended marriage, after giving notice and obtaining registrar’s certificate, may contract the marriage in the Registrar’s office before the Registrar of marriages. Such marriage in the Registrar’s office shall be celebrated by the Registrar with open doors, in the presence of two witnesses between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

C. ANY PLACE LICENCED BY THE MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS

A valid marriage may be celebrated in a place other than a licensed place of worship or the Registrar’s office if a licence issued by the Minister under Section 13 Marriage Act so directs. In all cases, the statutory requirements as to giving of notice and the Registrar’s certificate and/or licence as the case may be, must be first complied with or else the marriage is void irrespective of the place of celebration. Any church marriage celebrated without due compliance with the Act are not marriages under the Act, but only amounts to a Church activities.

D. NIGERIAN DIPLOMATIC MISSION

Section 49 of the Marriage Act stipulates that a marriage between parties one of whom is a citizen of Nigeria, if it is contracted in a country outside Nigeria before a marriage officer in his office, shall be valid in law as if it had been contracted in Nigeria before a registrar in the registrar's office. Every Nigerian diplomatic or consular officer of the rank of Secretary or above shall be regarded as a marriage officer in the country to which he is accredited. The office used by a marriage officer for the performance of his diplomatic or consular duties shall be regarded as the marriage officer's office for the purposes of the marriage as provided in Section 51 of the Marriage Act.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

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