A 14-year-old girl is facing the death penalty in a Nigerian court. Wasila Tasi’u, who comes from a poor family, allegedly slipped rat poison into her 35-year-old husband’s dinner two weeks after they were married.
Prosecutors at the High Court in Gezawa, outside of Kano, charged Tasi’u with murder over the death of Umar Sani in the village of Unguwar Yansoro. Lead prosecutor Lamido Abba Soron-Dinki and indicated the state would seek the maximum penalty. A juvenile has not been executed in Nigeria since 1997, when military dictator Sani Abacha held power.
Northern Nigeria is a primarily conservative Muslim area. Their legal system is a hybrid of a traditional criminal court system and Islamic law. Tasi’u’s family insist she was not forced into the marriage and that they were following tradition – it’s common for girls her age to get married. According to Nigerian law, anyone under the age of 21 can get married with a parent’s consent.