Nigerian police say Wasila Tasi’u confessed to poisoning her groom, Umaru Sani, and his guests at the wedding party in the village of Unguwar Yansoro village, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) outside Nigeria’s second city of Kano. Additional charges are to the murder of three other people who ate the food laced with rat poison that she allegedly prepared and served earlier this year.
“She did it because she was forced by her parents to marry a man she did not love,” Kano state police spokesman Musa Magaji Majia told AFP.
Her lawyer, Hussaina Aliyu, contends that her client made a confession that is not legally valid. She said Tasi’u, a minor, was questioned by police without the presence of a parent or lawyer therefore any comments she may have made are inadmissable in court.
Aliyu works with the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and has tried to get the case tried at a juvenile court to no avail. “All we are saying is do justice to her. Treat the case as it is. Treat her as a child,” Aliyu said.
The marriage of teenage girls to grown men is common in the deeply conservative, mainly Muslim northern Nigeria, especially in poorer rural areas. The region has since 2000 been under Islamic Sharia law which, according to some, does not outlaw the marriage of girl children.