Legal experts have called for a review of the Marriage Act in Nigeria.
The Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Benin, UNIBEN, Prof. Omoruyi Ikponmwonsa, who delivered a lecture during the NBA Law Week, explained that the customary marriage and the court marriage have guidelines that distinguished both from each other and are complete in their own sense.
Ikponmwosa stressed that women usually feel unsafe with customary marriage because of lack of documentation of the process.
According to him, both systems of marriage were skewed against each other as they are complete on their own.
“The customary marriage encourages polygamy, while the court marriage stands for one man, one woman. So for a couple to engage in both, such couples are contradicting their marriage requirements.
“There are documentations in court marriages with certificates which can be presented both in the court in case of dissolution and in the embassy for those who choose to travel out of the country.
“Above all, it protects both parties in case of ownership of properties, while there is no such thing in traditional marriages.
“Section 47 of the Marriage Act criminalizes double decker marriage, which is observing traditional marriage and court marriage at the same time,” he said.
He advised that the National Assembly should review the Marriage Act and unify the marriage system to enable the judiciary have a direct legal framework that would support couples to go for any of the marriage systems and avoid duplication of action.
Speaking, the Chairman of the NBA, Benin branch, Nosa Francis Edo-Osagie described the Law Week as very educative with the caliber of guest speakers drawn from across the country.
He further said that the NBA, Benin branch, will propose a Marriage Act amendment bill that would be sent to the National Assembly, noting that there was so much lacuna in the Marriage Act.