Marriage is regarded as a very sacred institution both in our jurisprudence and in our sociology. Accordingly an agreement to enter into a marriage should leave nobody in doubt as to the real intention of the parties to enter into a marriage. A mere convivial or romantic relationship without more is not enough for a court to found an agreement to marry. While the law may at times require that an agreement to marry should be in writing, the law will be prepared to hold, in appropriate cases, that the parties intended to marry in the absence of any written agreement. In this respect, the court will take into consideration the institution of marriage as a trade in the relevant society and how persons generally engage themselves in agreement of marriage. In this regard, the law will be more stringent in agreement to enter into marriage under the Matrimonial Causes Act and to some extent under Islamic Law than agreement to enter into marriage under customary law. I say this because while the first two types of marriages have settled principles and formalities of marriage, the third one is essentially transient, depending upon the custom, cultures and ethos of a given society.
— N. Tobi, JSC. Ezennah v Atta (2004) – SC.226/2000