An Overview of the Celebration of Statutory Marriage in Nigeria


Statutory marriage is one of the effects of Nigeria’s colonisation. In recent times, it has become quite popular and one of the reasons for this may be because the party who seeks to dissolve it must prove to the court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. In addition, parties to a statutory marriage feel safer, because in the event of a dissolution, the law makes provisions for custody of the children of the marriage, maintenance and even settlement of property, hence, there is always something to fall back on. A major problem with the celebration of statutory marriage in Nigeria is that most people do not know how it is celebrated properly; in effect there are quite a number of voidable marriages which become legal, upon ratification. Another problem is that a number of sections of the Marriage Act are out-dated, and do not address important issues like marriageable age, a precise definition of marriage in the Nigerian context, which includes polygamous and monogamous marriages.  The ultimate objective of the paper is to critically examine the celebration of statutory marriage in Nigeria, in accordance with the provisions of the Marriage Act. In light of this, the paper seeks to analyse the following; the celebration of statutory marriage in Nigeria, formal and essential requirements for the validity of a statutory marriage and give recommendations on a reform of the out-dated Marriage Act.

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