The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, has set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court, which restrained the Federal Government from further registering marriages contracted or celebrated under the Marriage Act, Cap. M6 laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004 within some local government councils in the country.
Trial judge at the lower court is Justice Daniel Osiagor.
The Appeal Court in its judgment delivered on August 2, 2023, held that both the Federal Government and Local Government Areas have the legal authority to celebrate, contract, and register marriages between prospective couples.
The court noted that not one organ of government has the exclusive preserve of contracting and celebrating marriages between a prospective couple.
Justice Abubakar Umar, delivered the lead judgment and adopted by Justice Jimi Bada (presiding) and Justice Fredrick Oho.
Justice Osiagor of the lower court in its judgment on December 8 2021, in a suit by Eti-Osa Local Government, Lagos State; Egbor Local Government, Edo State; Owerri Municipal Local Government, Imo State; and Port-Harcourt City Local Government against the Minister of Interior, the Attorney General of the Federation, and Anchor Dataware Solution Limited, granted some of the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.
The lower court had retrained the Minister of Interior and/or either by his privies, agents or delegates from further registering marriages contracted or celebrated under the Marriage Act, Cap. M6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004 within the Plaintiffs’ Local Government Councils Area.
But Minister of Interior in its appeal, urged the court to determine two issues namely, “Whether the lower court was right when it held that the plea of doctrine of res judicata is inapplicable to the 1st to 4th eespondents’ action.
“Whether the trial judge was right when it granted the reliefs sought by the 1st to 4th respondent and found that the judgment, granting exclusive rights to the 1st – 4th respondents and other local governments in Nigeria to conduct, celebrate and register marriages within their local government.
“The appellate court in its judgment delivered by Justice Umar held that the lower court was wrong in granting reliefs 1st -4th of the reliefs sought by the 1st to 4th respondents and granting reliefs 7 as endorsed on the amended originating summons in part.”