Nigerian pastors have been warned by the Ministry of Interior that wedding couples without registration can land them in prison for five years.
The Ministry of Interior issued this warning recently as it reinstated its statutory power to register marriages according to the Marriage Act.
According to Leadershp, a Registrar of Marriages at the Ministry of Interior, Pastor Oladele Temilade disclosed this Thursday in Abuja at the launch of his book, “Companion On Contracting Valid Statutory Marraiges In Nigeria” adding that many pastors have been acting in ignorance.
He said, “When a church contracts marriage, in fact, pastors we need to know, if they should carry out marriage for couples not supported by legal requirements, that pastor will go for five years imprisonment by the laws governing this country but they don’t know.”
“My advice is that intending couples should first go the marriage registry near to them and register even if they want to do it in the church or in the registry. Even if you are 90 years old, you can also ensure that your marriage is protected under the Marriage Act, 1990 CAP 218, LFN,” he added.
According to Temilade who has authored several other books, the motivation for the new book is the need for more public information in order to do the right thing and escape the wrath of the law.
“I discovered that so many people carryout this assignment ignorantly, even when they believe they know it and land a lot of people into living in a fool’s paradise. This time around, we should be living in wisdom heaven,” he said.
Also, the the Minister of Interior, Abdurahman Dambazau, represented by a director in the ministry affirmed the statement of the book author adding that most socio-economic problems facing nations across the globe derive directly from the family units.
He said “The Minstry of Interior is statutorily charged with the responsibilities for issues relating to marriage…a marriage contracted in Nigeria is not valid until it has complied with all the essential and formal requirements in the Marriage Act as amended.”
The Minster added that any government that does not treat the marriage institution with the sanctity it deserves does so at its peril.
Record shows that the Marriage Act was enacted in 1914 but the book author claims that people now don’t worry about the essential requirements of entering into marriage and at end of the day they have problems in their marriages.
He said that women are especially the victims of the harsh effects of illegal marriages when their mate die, they want travel out, or get divorced as they may not have any legal right to inheritance.
“When you go to other marriage centres run by individual businesses, local governments, they must be directly under the Ministry of Interior in order to contract valid statutory marriages. When a local government issues a marriage certificate without the banner of the Ministry of Interior, it is invalid,” he warned.