Nigerian bishops ask officials to review church licenses to marry couples

Light of truth

Six Catholic bishops appealed to the Nigerian government to review its stand on a directive that houses of worship must obtain an annual license before performing marriages and issuing marriage certificates to newly wedded couples.

Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin of Ibadan and Bishops Felix Ajakaye of Ekiti, Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo, Jude Arogundade of Ondo, John Oyejola of Osogbo, and Paul Olawoore of Ilorin made the appeal in a statement released at the end of their provincial meeting on August 6 in Ado Ekiti.

The bishops urged the government to review the Ministry of the Interior directive to all places of worship. “Presently, only about 4,689 licensed places of worship in Nigeria have updated their records with the Ministry of Interior of which only 314 have renewed their licenses to conduct statutory marriages,” she said.

“Many people, including Catholic Priests, have fallen victims to this tragically insecure environment,” the provincial bishops said. They attributed criminal activity to inconsistency in the prosecution of crimes. They said the government and law enforcement authorities had given “lip service” to their commitment to protect life and property.

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