By Nabutola Abel
Marriage is a sacred devotion and the vows are taken to bind the two parties. The ring acts as a reminder of these vows.
Because of its sanctity, the law stipulates offences and penalties relating to marriage ceremonies.
For starters, any person who makes, declares, certifies or states any false information, which will determine the validity of the ceremony, is guilty of an offence.
Likewise, if a person purports to prevent a marriage by pretence that his consent is required by law, or by stating that there is a legal impediment to such a union, he is guilty of an offence and liable for imprisonment for a maximum term of two years.
Guilty as charged
Moreover, the law makes it an offence for a person to impersonate a marriage officer and perform his or her duties, knowing that he/she is not qualified to do so.
Such a person is guilty of an offence and can be imprisoned for a maximum of five years. It is also an offence to wilfully neglect the duty to fill up or transmit the certificate of marriage to the rightful person.
Further, one is guilty if he impersonates any other person in marriage or under a false name/description, with the intention to deceive the other party to the marriage.
Finally, is the offence of bigamy, which was inspired by our colonial masters.
To them, a family is made up of the nuclear members, while in the African set-up a family consists of the extended family.
In essence, the principle of monogamy was envisaged in our laws, while that of polygamy was retained in the customary law.