By Elvis-Wura Towolawi
Take this as an unofficial allocotus, but we cannot turn a blind eye to a social sore that’s fast festering. A 14-year–old Wasilat Tasi’u has been arraigned in a Kano court for murdering her ‘husband’ and two others who ate a meal she allegedly poisoned. When apprehended by the police she accepted she did apply rat poison to the food of her ‘husband’ whom she alleged forcefully married her against her will. According to her, her Muslim parents married her off without considering whether she was ready or not; and the act was the only way out of the bondage of marriage she found herself. To her, the marriage was hell and a burden.
However, we write not to defend or endorse wanton poisoning of humans as a way of solving a social problem; rather we write to look at the underlying factors that drove the little girl to the act beyond the strict application of the law. And our argument, or rather plea is that the judge should consider all the societal factors that actuated the ill instead of applying the law in a legalistic tenor in order to do justice to both the girl and the society.
It is in the interest of society that humans be married in a bid to continue the chain of humanity through procreation. But it certainly can not be in the best interest of society to give infantile heads and bodies to the rigorous institution of marriage. Marriage is not a child’s play. Marriage is a turf reserved for both matured minds and bodies. Although Islam prescribes puberty as one of criteria for marriage, but reason should tell us that reaching puberty and being able to menstruate is not enough considering the physical, emotional and spiritual strain of the institution.
Facts abound in northern Nigeria amongst Muslim of early marriage. In fact, a renowned Nigerian Senator from Zamfara deals in marrying kids only to divorce them when they no longer tickle his fancy. But beyond following one’s religious prescription; what about the well-being of the nubile young girls? Many of these young girls with undeveloped crevice end up with VVF after childbirth – a social stigma of stench caused by their unripe marriage. Can we not also deduce that the rampant kidnap of schoolgirls and other young girls by Boko Haram to become ‘wives’ in their camp is driven and given impetus by such beliefs? Little Wasilat Tasi’u poisoned her ‘husband’ to escape the jail of such early marriage.
In sum, for want of space and time, we would appeal to the court to not just interpret the law of murder mechanically in this young girl’s case; but it should unveil and examine the root cause of the problem – child marriage. Marriage is not for babes and children!!