There are different types of marriage recognized under the Nigeria law. The most popular one is a court marriage in Nigeria.

Essentially, it can be said there four major types of marriage that can be conducted in Nigeria. These include the statutory marriage; customary marriage; church marriage; and Islamic marriage.

However, it is a common practice in Nigeria that a single couple may conduct at least 3 types of marriage together.



A statutory marriage also called the registry marriage in Nigeria is actually a voluntary union for life of one male and one female to the exclusion of all others in line with statutes. Put simply, a statutory marriage in Nigeria is monogamous marriage. Examples include marriages done at the Court Registry and marriage done in a licensed place of worship (church marriage).

The principal legislation regulating statutory marriages in Nigeria are:

  • The Marriage Act;
  • Matrimonial Causes Act Cap M7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004;
  • Matrimonial Causes Rules made pursuant to the Matrimonial Causes Act.



Statutory marriage is actually different from Customary marriage. Customary marriage is actually a union of a male and a female under customary law. It also involves 2 families. Nigeria has numerous types of customary marriages, as different as the country’ s numerous cultures.

The core features of customary marriage include:

  • Parental consent, Consent of the parties to the marriage and Age
  • Bride price or perhaps dowry,
  • Prohibited degrees of consanguinity and
  • Capacity and affinity to marry under customary law



Islamic marriage, like customary marriage, is essentially polygamous, so if the male wants, he is able to marry up to four wives. It’s most of the characteristics of customary marriages already discussed.

The principal requirements of a valid Islamic law marriage are:

Consent of the parties, Parental consent, Payment of the Saduquat (i.e. bride price or perhaps dowry Solemnization and)



The marriage process is simplified in Nigeria in the sense that couples have various marriage options to explore. There are four major types of marriage in Nigeria as discussed above.

A single couple may conduct customary or traditional marriage, church marriage and court marriage in Nigeria. Where a single couple conducts this type of marriage together, they are presumed to have conducted a statutory marriage and may have a recourse to all legal remedies as provided by the law in respect of statutory marriage.

The laws guiding marriages in Nigeria includes both the statutory and customary laws.

The statutory marriage is always the preferred option of marriage due to its simplicity and prima facie evidence of marriage, which is the certificate of marriage.


By Omolade Animashaun, Esq. Associate at Resolution Law Firm

Email: info@resolutionlawng.com