AGF urges dismissal of suit against right to register marriages

Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit seeking to nullify the power of the Federal Ministry of Interior to register marriages.

The AGF filed a preliminary objection, wherein he urged Justice Chuka Obiozor to dismiss the suit for being an abuse of court processes.This followed the application by four local council areas challenging the power of the Federal Government to conduct and register marriages.

Thecouncils are Egor Local Council Area in Edo State, Eti-Osa Local Council Area of Lagos State, Owerri Municipal Local Council Area of Imo State and Port Harcourt Local Council Area of Rivers State.

Malami argued that the issues raised by the plaintiffs had already been settled by Justice Oyindamola Olomojobi of the Federal High Court, in the judgment delivered on June 8, 2002.

The applicants are praying the court to declare that it is only the local council areas that have the exclusive right to conduct and register marriages.Joined as respondents are the Minister of the Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau and the AGF, Malami.

The applicants counsel, Mr. Michael Roger, argued that by virtue of Section 1(5) Paragraph 1(i) of the 1999 Constitution, the Federal Ministry of Interior, an agency of the Federal Government, has no business in registering marriages as it currently does.

Roger buttressed his argument with an earlier judgment wherein the court declared that only local council areas have the power to register marriages by virtue of Section 30(1) of the Marriage Act and Section 7(5) of the 1999 Constitution.

However, the judge, in the said judgment clarified that other lawful authorities could “celebrate or contract marriages.”Justice Obiozor adjourned hearing in the case till June 8.

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Abubakar Malami
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