Civil Society Organizations under the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage have kicked against the unilateral imposition of the sum of N51,000 as licences payable in order to conduct statutory marriages in Nigeria.
The agitation is coming after the Ministry of Interior issued a directive that married couples, worship centres and churches will be made to pay a whopping sum of N51,000 (marriage certificate of N21,000 while licensing of places of worship is N30,000) before performing statutory marriages in Nigeria.
Since the issuance of this directive, many Nigerians have been very worried and disturbed about it. As they are worried on why couples and worship centres should be made pay the sum of N51, 000 in order to perform their statutory marriages.
According to the CSO, during a press conference which was held recently at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ikeja, Lagos, it was stressed that the government could make money through other means rather than placing the burden on couples who are about to start a new life.
“We believe that there are other ways the Ministry of Interior could generate revenue other than placing unnecessary and extra financial burden on couples, churches, mosques and places of worship in Nigeria. It is our view that it is legally wrong for the Ministry of Interior to exercise the sole right to grant licenses to couples, churches, Mosques and public places of worship for the celebration of marriage under the (Marriage) Act.”
While the issue still lingers, the organization urged the Minister of Interior to rescind its current controversial policy as they say does not go with the constitution of the country.
“We note with great concern that the legal battles between the Ministry of Interior and the Local Government Areas over the right to conduct, celebrate, register marriages and issue marriage certificate are all based on this current policy of the Ministry of Interior. Most Local Government Areas have rightly insisted that the statutory powers to register marriages which are being usurped by the Federal Government through this new policy of the Ministry of Interior, should be given back to them.
“This is a clear indication that the current policy of the Ministry of Interior is very unpopular and would continue to cause disaffection and mutual mistrust between the Ministry of Interior and the people of Nigeria.”