“She was married to a man that she didn’t love. She protested but her parents forced her to marry him,” – Zubeida Nagee
Its the 8th day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Joint Campaign.
Beyond the fun fair, and the orange your neighbourhood initiative that coloured the campaign; real life issues that women experience and struggle with continue to stare the world in the face.
The news about a group of men in Kenya who attacked an indecently dressed lady heralded the commemoration of the event this year. And then global icon, Bill Cosby made the rounds on allegations of rape which took place some years back. The state government in Lagos, Nigeria is presently campaigning, and justifiably so, against rape as a form of violence against women.
Meanwhile tucked somewhere faraway from headline news is another child bride case which is brewing presently in Northern Nigeria and tending slowly towards the horrific. And the world seem almost oblivious of it.
In Gezawa, 60 miles from Kano, Wasilat Tasi’u is presently standing trial for the murder of her 35-year-old husband, Umar Sani. The man died after eating food that Tasi’u is purpoted to have laced with rat poison. She is alleged to have killed her hubby two weeks after their wedding in April, earlier this year.
Three others died from eating the food according to reports. The prosecution, led by a senior state council from the Kano State Ministry of Justice is seeking the death penalty
The case is dire in two ways. First, the legality of trying a 14-year-old for murder under criminal law. The scond borders on the rights and plight of child brides in Nigeria.
Child rights activists like Zubeida Nagee Zubeida quoted above argue that Tasi’u was a victim of systematic abuse endured by millions of girls in the Northern region. They say the blend of traditional customs, Islamic law and Nigeria’s constitutional law pose a challenge when advocating for the rights of young girls in Nigeria.
Although there was a protest about Wasilat’s predicament, nothing progressive has been achieved.
The High court judge, Justice Mohammed Yahaya has adjourned the court until December 22 while Tasi’u will be in state juvenile custody till then.
Perhaps there are just “so much trouble in the world”, echoing the words of a notable reggae artiste. World leaders are rather preoccupied with the horror that IS has continually unleashed in recent times. Or could it be that child advocates have grown weary, of an unsuccessful campaign for the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls?
Wasilat Tas’iu’s plight as a girl child in Nigeria is under reported. She is a minor who was thrown into a form of modern day slavery, who wanted out by all means.
Is killing one’s husband justifiable under the law? No. Is it justifiable within the Nigerian constitution to marry a minor? No. Will justice be served in this case? It’s over to the court of public opinion.
Please don’t let Wasilat die.