The federal government has suspended Ozuruonye Chukuma, registrar at the Benin federal marriage registry in Edo state, for alleged negligence of duty.
The sanction comes after a viral video of an intending couple who appeared to have been left stranded and frustrated due to Chukuma’s absence at the registry on their wedding day surfaced on social media.
In the less than three-minute video, Abel Ugiagbe and Marian Obire, the lovebirds, could be seen expressing their disappointment at the registrar’s absence despite meeting the stipulated requirements.
Friends and relatives of the lovebirds were also seen wearing gloomy faces after waiting for the registrar’s arrival all to no avail.
The groom said he was shocked to hear that the registrar travelled for burial when he got to the registry.
He also condemned the official’s action while wondering why he was not informed of the development prior to the wedding date.
In a statement, Shuaib Belgore, the permanent secretary, ministry of interior and principal registrar of marriages in Nigeria, said he has ordered Chukuma’s suspension until an investigation into the matter is completed.
He also said in addition to the suspension, the embattled registrar had been recalled to the headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, the decision was in line with the ethics of the civil service which encourages, diligence and discipline for public officers.
“This will serve as deterrent to others who are careless with their official duties,” he said.
Belgore added that Rauf Aregbesola, the minister of interior, has warned all federal marriage registrars who handle their official duties with levity to desist from such acts or be ready to face disciplinary actions.
He also apologised on behalf of the ministry to the couple and their family members “who were made to face disappointment on a day that should have been for joyful celebration.”