Haa!! Ikoyi, Marriage Registry Or Business Centre?
A visit to the Ikoyi Registry at Falomo is an eye-opener. The registry has managed to get rid of the touts, fraudsters and lay-abouts that used to hang around the entrance looking for who to defraud. But if you think that the touts are totally gone, you may be wrong, as officials of the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps (NCDC) who work with the Registry officials have simply replaced them.
From the moment you get there, an officer would ask where you’re going and the moment you mention ‘registry’, he or she would lead you to the office and tell you to ask for a particular person, who would already be waiting for you at the entrance.
The officials ‘jostle’ for customers, fighting if need be, and when you finally decide on one, you are told the requirements to get a license or certificate, whichever one you need.
One of the officials who spoke to The Guardian said the certificate costs N31, 000 if one wanted to wed at the registry and would fill a form and an announcement would be posted for 21 days.
She however, said if one wanted it the next day, it could be arranged for an extra N10, 000, but if one wanted it the same day, it would cost N15, 000. But if one’s partner was based abroad, one would pay N60, 000.
On the disparity between home based couples and those based abroad, she said: “Na so we dey collect am.” However, if one simply wanted to register and get a license for Church wedding, one would pay N25, 000 and that could be quickly arranged as well.
The forms to be collected include birth certificate or a sworn declaration of age and an affidavit of bachelorhood and spinsterhood, which would cost N1,000 each and could also be arranged immediately as someone was on stand by to help out.
Around the premises, you see all forms of vendors, offering to get you whatever you needed to facilitate the process. The vendors include cake makers, bouquet makers, caterers, make-up artists, photographers and videographers, among many others.
Speaking with a couple who just wedded at the registry, the bride said she was not aware of the judgment, but decided on Ikoyi because she was told it was easier to get a visa with an Ikoyi registry certificate.
She also claimed that she had to grease the palms of all the officials along the way and could end up spending about N50, 000.
“They would also ask you to ‘appreciate’ them in kind, so apart from the money you would give, you would also give other things. But to be sincere, the officials here are not so bad compared to the ones at Ikeja where my sister got married.