The Nigerian child bride case of Wasila Tasi’u (pictured), which garnered international headlines, has finally come to an end: prosecutors have withdrawn all charges against the now-15-year-old, according to the attorney general.
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Last April, the then-14-year-old Tasi’u poisoned husband Umaru Sani while he celebrated his new marriage to the teen with friends.
In order to celebrate his wedding to Umar last week, 35-year-old Sani reportedly invited about 12 of his friends to his village of Ungwar Yansoro over the weekend. Umar reportedly prepared a pot of rice with rat poison that was served to the guests, after purchasing the poison from a village market.
Sani and a guest died the same day, while two other guests reportedly died later on at the hospital. According to the BBC, 10 others were also taken to the hospital.
Assistant Superintendent Musa Magaji Majia says that Umar confessed to poisoning her groom, saying, “The suspect confessed to committing the crime and said she did it because she was forced to marry a man she did not love.”
The case regalvanized the child bride conundrum that is often practiced by Muslims who are known to marry off girls as young as 9 years old.
By October, lead prosecutor of the case Lamido Abba Soron-Dinki charged that Tasi’u’s offense is “punishable with death.” However, by this March, defense lawyer Hussaina Aliyu Ibrahim argued that the charges against his client be dropped.
Tasi’u’s defense attorney Ibrahim appears to be using the legal age of marriage to receive a “no case submission” from presiding Judge Justice Muhammmad Yahaya.
A no case submission declares that the claim against a defendant is not sufficient for conviction because it is based on insufficient legal grounds or factual evidence.
While Tasi’u’s defense didn’t employ the no case submission argument, the Kano state attorney general told the media that the charges against her would indeed be dropped because she is a minor and Umar’s family has forgiven her.
The dropping of the charges will become official once an oral or written presentation from the attorney general is made before the court.