Wasila Tasi’u was only 13 years old when she was forced to wed a 35-year-old man in a largely Muslim area of northern Nigeria. Although child marriage is against the law there, it’s still a fairly common practice. Tasi’u poisoned her husband and three friends before being imprisoned, but human rights lawyer Hussaina Aliyu Ibrahim persuaded the prosecutor to drop her case. Human rights activists cheered as the judge made his statement to release Tasi’u from juvenile detention, but Tasi’u is fortunate. Another 13-year-old child who also murdered her 35-year-old husband is on death row. Both girls, who were both second wives, are uneducated and illiterate, and prime examples of the consequences of forced marriages in an area with no schools. Some locals are angry at the judge’s ruling and believe Tasi’u should’ve been found guilty for murder. They worry this will set a precedent for future child brides, and are demanding approximately $170,000 in “blood money” for each of Tasi’u’s victims. Although the girl’s parents have asked for her return, the lack of schools in the area force many parents to swap their daughters for cattle, goats, and land. Ibrahim believes Tasi’u will just be pushed into another marriage. As conservative lawyers are helping Tasi’u’s family sue to get her back, the girl will stay with another family until her safety is ensured. As Ibrahim said, “If we give her back to them, we are destroying what we did. They should be arrested for what they did to her.”
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