Four local government areas in Nigeria have urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to jail the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola for alleged disobedience to a December 8, 2021 court judgment of the court over the running of marriage registry in the country.
The local government councils’ demand is contained in a committal proceedings instituted against Aregbesola, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and a contractor, Anchor Dataware Solutions Limited.
The plaintiffs are insisting that the defendants have refused to obey the judgment, which restrained the Ministry of Interior from further operating the Federal Marriage Registry, Imo State and others.
The plaintiffs in the suit are: Eti-Osa Local Government Council of Lagos State; Egor Local Government Council of Edo State; Owerri Municipal Local Government Council, Imo State; and Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, Rivers State.
Justice Daniel Osiagor has already granted an ex parte application authorising the commencement of committal proceedings against the defendants.
The local government claimed that after the bailiff of the court sealed the Federal Marriage Registry, Imo State, as ordered by the court, officials of the Ministry of Interior went to unseal the facility and continued their operations.
In their ex parte application, the plaintiffs asked the court “for an order of committal to prison of the first defendant (Aregbesola), having disobeyed the order of this honourable court made on December, 8,2021, compelling him to stop contracting federal marriage registry in the marriage district (local government councils) except the Ikoyi and Abuja Federal Marriage Registry.”
After listening to the plaintiffs’ counsel, Justice Osiagor granted leave to the four local government councils to commence committal proceedings against Aregbesola.
Justice Osiagornhad held in the judgment that only the local government marriage registries were empowered to conduct marriages by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).