A legal luminary of no mean repute ( in the celebrated case of Hyde v. Hyde) defined marriage as ..." the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others'. In Nigeria, the Marriage Act, which is of general application throughout the country makes provision for the celebration of marriages in churches, marriage registry of various local government councils and marriages involving Nigerians in diaspora.
In Nigeria, the Marriage Act demands the application of the following procedures for a marriage to be legal:1. Notice of Marriage: Whenever one person desires to marry, one of the parties to the intended marriage shall sign and give to the Registra of Marriages in the local government council in which the marriage is intended to take place, a notice in the prescribed format. If the person is unable to write or is insufficiently aquatinted with English language or both, then It shall be sufficient if he places his mark or cross thereto in the presence of some literate persons, who shall attest the same in the prescribed form.
Upon receipt of such notice, the Registra shall cause same to be entered in the ' marriage notice book' which may be inspected during official hours without a fee. He shall also publish the notice by affixing same on the outer door of his office and should be there until he grants his certificate or expiration of three months.
2. Registra's Certificate: At the expiration of twenty - one days and before the expiration of three months from the date of the notice and upon payment of prescribed fee, the Registra shall issue the certificate in the prescribed form, if he is satisfied by the affidavit that:
(a) one of the parties has been resident within local government area in which the marriage is intended to be celebrated, at least fifteen days preceding the granting of the certificate
(b) each of the parties to the intended marriage (not being a widow or widower) is twenty - one years of age and above or that if he or she is underage, the required consent has been obtained in writing and annexed to the affidavit.
(c) there is no impediment of kindred or affinity or any other lawful hindrance to the marriage,
(d) neither of the parties is married under customary law, to any person other than the person with whom such marriage is proposed to be contracted.
Note that the consent required in (b) above is that of the father and if the father is dead or of unsound mine or absent from Nigeria, that of the mother or guardian if the mother is dead or absent from Nigeria. If both parents and guardian are not in Nigeria, any of the underlisted may sign the consent form: (a) Governor, (b) State High Court Judge, (c) an officer in the public service of or above assistant director.
Note: if the marriage is not celebrated within three months after the date of the notice aforementioned, the notice an all proceedings shall be void and a fresh notice is required before parties can lawfully marry.
3. Entering Caveat: Any person whose consent is required or who may know of any just cause why the marriage should not take place, may enter a written protest against the issuance of the Registra's Certificate by writing, anytime before the issuance thereof, the word " Forbidden" opposite the entry of the notice in the marriage notice book and append his name, address, signature and grounds to which the claims to forbid the certificate issuance and the Registra shall not issue the certificate until the protest is resolved.
When such a protest arises it is usually settled in a High Court.
Content created and supplied by: Aajioorooh (via Opera News )