Nigeria child bride, 14, on trial for killing husband, 35, with rat poison
A 14-year-old girl is on trial for murdering her 35-year-old husband just days after their marriage.
The Nigerian court heard testimony on Monday that the teen admitted to killing Mr Umar Sani with rat poison and signed a police confession with a thumbprint because she cannot write.
The state’s lawyers are seeking the death penalty for Wasila Tasi’u, who is from a poor Muslim family.
The prosecution called to the stand the victim's other wife, Ms Ramatu, who said she got along well with Tasi’u.
Foaming at the mouth
Ms Ramatu said she and Tasi’u had prepared the food together on April 5, the day Mr Sani died.
She testified that because it was Tasi’u’s turn to share a bed with Mr Sani, Tasi’u was also entitled to serve him his meal.
"After putting the food in the dish I didn’t see anybody put anything in it," Ms Ramatu said.
She told the court she saw her husband sometime later being helped back to the house by a neighbour, unable to walk and foaming at the mouth.
Homicide investigator Abdullahi Adamu said he translated Tasi’u’s confession from the Hausa language to English and gave her the document to sign.
She could not write her name, so “she had to use a thumbprint,” he told the court during his testimony on the last day of the prosecution’s case.
The case has sparked outrage among human rights activists who say Nigeria should be treating Tasi’u as a victim, noting the possibility that she was raped by the man she married.
But others in the region, including relatives of Tasi’u and Mr Sani, have rejected the notion that the teen was forced into marriage.
They have said that 14 is a common age to marry in the region and that Tasi’u chose Mr Sani from among many suitors.
A motion by defence lawyers to have the case moved to juvenile court was rejected.
The trial has been adjourned until Feb 16.