Types of Marriages in Nigeria

Types of Marriage in Nigeria

Broadly speaking there are 2 types of marriage in Nigeria, there is Marriage under the Act and Traditional/Customary marriage.

Traditional/Customary marriage is a marriage ceremony that has been conducted in accordance with the customs of the bride and groom’s families. In Nigeria this could involve the paying of bride price, giving of gifts, etc.

Marriage under the Act is a marriage that has been performed in compliance with the Marriage Act. The first step to make a marriage in compliance with the Act is to give notice of the impending marriage to the Registrar of Marriage in the Local Government where the marriage will be conducted.

The notice of marriage is given by the intending couple filling and signing a form after payment of a prescribed fee in the office of the Registrar. The Registrar of marriages would then cause the notice to be published on the outer door of his office and the notice board of the Local Government Area.

This notice must be published for at least 21 days and during that period anyone who has an objection to the marriage is free to make an objection by registering this objection with the Registrar, and after the expiration of 21 days from the day of publication of notice, the Registrar will issue a “Registrar’s certificate” to the intending couple. The Registrar’s certificate is proof that notice of the marriage has been given with no objections, and the intending couple are free to solemnise the marriage.

The marriage can then be solemnised at a registered place of worship (church/mosque) or the office of the Registrar. If the marriage is solemnised in a licensed place of worship, it must be done under the supervision of registered clergy of the religious body (church/mosque). Not all churches/mosques are licensed places for celebration of marriages.

This must be done within 3 months of the issuance of the certificate by the Registrar, and if the marriage is not celebrated within that 3-month period all notices and certificate will become void and, the entire process must be started afresh.

The final step is the signing of the marriage certificate. This must be done by the couple and be witnessed by 2 people and the officiant (the person conducting the marriage ceremony). The duplicate must be sent to the Registrar of Marriages within seven (7) days after the celebration of marriage. The registrar of marriage upon receiving such certificate files it. Once all the steps are followed, it is a valid marriage under the Act.



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