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Prosecution drops murder charges against Nigerian child-bride

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GavelNigerian prosecutors on Wednesday withdrew murder charges against a 15-year-old girl who was accused of using rat poison to kill the 35-year-old man she had married.

Prosecutor Lamido Abba Soron-Dinki asked the High Court in Gezawa, Kano state, to “terminate the case of culpable homicide against Wasila Tasi’u”, who was 14 when she married Umar Sani.

“With a heavy heart, I apply that the accused be discharged,” he added.

Judge Mohammed Yahaya told the court he required either a written or oral presentation from the office of Kano’s attorney general before formally dropping the charges and agreeing to Tasi’u’s release.

He ordered that presentation to be made on June 9.

Legal sources in Kano told AFP separately that Nigeria had faced pressure to drop the case which has angered rights activists.

Soron-Dinki told AFP the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, who is Nigeria’s second most powerful Islamic cleric, had offered to “shelter” Tasi’u following her release.

The emir is also known as Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a Western-educated former central bank governor whom many people saw as a progressive leader when he served as the country’s top banker.

It was not clear if the emir had any role in the prosecution decision to apply to drop the charges.

Locals in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, Tasi’u’s home region, had rejected claims that she was a victim forced to marry a man more than twice her age, noting that 14 was a standard marrying age in the deeply conservative area.

But rights activists insisted that Tasi’u was a minor in need of rehabilitation and could not be charged as an adult with murder.


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