The Federal Government on Friday denounced claims by the Lagos State Government that a Federal High Court had declared the power of Ikoyi Registry to conduct marriages null and voids.
Saying that the claim by the Lagos State Government was false, the Ministry of Interior said that the court, presided over by Justice Chuka Obiozor, simply upheld the judgment of a Federal High Court delivered in 2002, which was not appealed.
The ministry said the case, Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1760/16, between Egor Local Government Area, Edo State and three others Vs. Ministry of Interior & others, cited by the Lagos State Government, was actually struck out by Justice Obiozor in his judgment delivered on April 30, 2018.
The Director of Legal, Ministry of Interior, Bola Odugbesan, made the clarification in a statement, in reaction to a press statement on Thursday by the Lagos Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs.
The state government had claimed that Lagos State had secured a court injunction restraining the Ikoyi registry from conducting marriages.
Dismissing the claims, Odugbesan presented a copy of the judgment by Obiozor, who described the case as “an abuse of court process” and struck it out.
Odugbesan said, “In the case, the court was invited to interpret the provisions of the Constitution conferring on local governments the powers to register marriages. The Minister of Interior, through his Counsel, Bola Odugbesan, argued that under item 61 of the Exclusive List, matters connected with marriage under the Marriage Act, issuing of marriage certificate and its registration are outside the purview of state and/or local governments.”
“The Federal High Court in its judgment dated April 30, 2018, struck out the case of the plaintiffs, i.e., Egor LGA & Ors. The court held that the case is an abuse of the court process in view of the earlier judgment of the court in 2002, which upheld the sanctity of the rights of the minister to issue licences to places of worship to conduct marriages, and the registrar under the Marriage Act to register marriages. It is instructive to note that Lagos State was not a party in the case.”
Odugbesan insisted that the Federal High Court never ordered the closure of Ikoyi Marriage Registry, as claimed the state government PUNCH reports.