Nigerian Child Bride Admits Murdering Her 35 Year Old Husband

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Nigerian Child Bride Admits Murdering Her 35 Year Old Husband
Thu 25-12-2014

A Nigerian child bride has 'admitted' murdering her 35-year-old husband with rat poison by signing a confession she could not read, with her thumbprint.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 14-year-old Wasila Tasi'u, whose farmer husband Umar Sani was found dead just days after marrying her in April.

If she is found guilty, the teenager, who is from a poor and deeply conservative Muslim family and cannot write, could become the first child in Nigeria to be executed in 18 years.

Human rights campaigners have expressed outrage over her treatment, saying she should be seen as a victim of abuse.

But the case has prompted mixed reactions in her impoverished home state of Kano, where Sharia (Islamic) law is in place alongside the laws of the government.

Gezawa High Court overflowed yesterday as prosecutors closed their case in the murder trial, with people peering in through the open windows and a crowd so large it spilled out of the gallery door.

Homicide investigator Abdullahi Adamu revealed he translated Wasila's statement from her native language, Hausa, into English, which she did not speak.

Despite being unable to read the document she then signed it, he told the court.

She could not write her name so 'she had to use a thumbprint,' he added. 

One of the prosecution witnesses was the farmer's second wife Ramatu, who told how her 'co-wife' prepared him dinner before being due to go to bed with him.

The court heard the murder victim had married Ramatu previously in the village of Unguwar Yansoro, which sits in a region where polygamy is widespread.

Ramatu said she got along well with the 14-year-old and the two had prepared food together on April 5, the day Sani died.

'After putting the food in the dish I didn't see anybody put anything in it,' Ramatu said - but later she saw her husband foaming at the mouth and unable to walk.

Previously a seven-year-old girl who Wasila allegedly sent to buy rat poison was called to give evidence.

'She said rats were disturbing her in her room,' Hamziyya told the court. 

The case has raised the spectre of child marriage in Nigeria, where campaigners say almost two fifths of children are married off before their 18th birthday.

According to Human Rights Watch, Nigeria is not known to have executed a juvenile offender since 1997, when the country was ruled by military dictator Sani Abacha.

The trial, in which a not guilty plea was entered for the 14-year-old, has been adjourned until February 16.

Source: Daily Mail