According to Nigerian police officials, 14-year-old Wasila Umaru killed her husband, 35-year-old Umaru Sani, and three of his friends a week after she was forced into marriage.
The Associated Press reports Sani invited dozens friends to his home in the village of Ungwar Yansoro to celebrate the marriage.
Assistant police superintendent Musa Magaji Majia told the AP Umaru confessed to buying rat poison at a local market and slipping it into a rice dish because she did not want to be married to the much-older man.
Sani and a friend died the same day, and two others later died in a local hospital.
“The suspect confessed to committing the crime and said she did it because she was forced to marry a man she did not love,” Majia said.
Although outlawed by Nigeria’s Child Rights Act, child marriage is quite common in the Northern rural and Muslim-dominated areas of the country, which are subject to state-level Sharia Law. A report by the U.N.’s children agency found that 50 percent of Nigerian girls in rural areas are married before 18, and one in five are wed before they turn 15.
Despite a federal law banning marriage for those under 18, no one has ever been prosecuted for marrying a child in Nigeria, including Senator Sani Ahmed Yerima who divorced his 17-year-old wife, whom he married when she was 15, so he could marry a 14-year-old Egyptian girl. Sen. Yerima, who was 49 at the time, divorced the girl because under Islamic Law it’s illegal to have more than four wives at a time.
Umaru has yet to be arrested for poisoning her husband, but Assistant police superintendent Majia thinks she’ll be charged with culpable homicide.
Read more about Nigeria’s child brides here.