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NIGERIA

Judicial CP - April 2008



Corpun file 20299

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Sunday Trust, Abuja, 13 April 2008

Day of reckoning for Kaduna lesbians

By Sani Babadoko in Kaduna
and Nuruddeen M. Abdallah


Aisha, the 'husband'

It was a day of reckoning for two lesbians, Aisha Yusha'u, 28, and Hauwa Haliru, 24, in Kaduna last Tuesday when they each received 20 strokes of the cane at the premises of the Upper Shari'a Court, Dutse in Tudun Wada area not far from the main gate of the Kaduna Polytechnic. The two were also sentenced to a six months imprisonment without an option of fine and promptly taken to the Kaduna prison to commence their jail term after the strokes were administered on them.

Aisha and Hauwa were 'married', with Aisha being the 'husband' and Hauwa the 'wife'. Their union is frowned at by Shari'a law and the presiding judge, Alkali Mustapha Umar passed the sentence for going against Qur'anic injunctions.

The forbidden relationship between the two started in Tafa, a tanker drivers' stop-over town in Kachia local government area of Kaduna state. Sometime in 2003 in Tafa, some 120 kilometres on the Kaduna-Abuja expressway, Aisha 'proposed' marriage to Hauwa. The marriage was 'consummated' the same year after Aisha paid a bride price of N5,000. The couple had a blissful 'married' life as they both lived happily for the past five years.

However, of recent their relationship became frosty after Aisha noticed what she told the police in Tafa was Hauwa's extra marital activities and marital infidelity by frolicking with other lesbians in the town. She also told the police that Hauwa confessed to her infidelity when she (Aisha) confronted her with the allegation sometime last year. What is more, Hauwa told her 'husband' that her relationship with another lesbian suitor will soon blossom into a marriage.

This revelation miffed Aisha to no end. She accused her 'wife' of breach of marital contract and adulterous affiliation when there has not been a formal divorce between them. Aisha could not contain her anger at Hauwa's infidelity and took the matter to the Tafa police station demanding a refund of the N5,000 bride price.

But that action has proven to be the end of the road for the illicit relationship because the policemen at the station said the matter was not what could be settled locally. The police after confirming from the duo that they were Muslims then referred the case to the Upper Shari'a Court Tudun Wada, Kaduna.

The two women confessed to the offence of illicit relationship and the presiding judge, Alkali Mustapha Umar, convicted them and sentenced them to receive 20 strokes of the cane each and imprisonment for six months without an option of fine. The accused then pleaded with the judge for leniency as this was their first encounter with the law. The presiding judge, however, said he could not be any more lenient as he was only giving them the lightest sentence.

The judge also ordered that the 20 strokes each of the cane be immediately carried out at the court premises. This attracted hundreds of passersby from the usually busy polytechnic road. Many of the spectators said they were curious because that was the first time they are seeing such a judgement being passed on such an offence by Muslim women.

Muslim scholars contacted confirmed that the two got what they deserved because the Qur'an frowns at same-sex marriages. Some religious sources in Kaduna told Sunday Trust last Thursday that the two might have gotten discretional sentences as proven cases of lesbianism carry the same penalty with proven cases of adultery, which is death by stoning.

However, the Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI) Secretary General, Justice Abdulkadir Orire, declined comment on the case as he was yet to get the detailed report of the case or read the Kaduna state edict. He is, however, of the opinion that the case must be a routine one at the Shari'a Courts and wondered why the western media should show such an unnecessary interest in the case. He said those highlighting the case are doing so to build a case against Shari'a. He said the aim is to portray Shari'a as a barbaric system and build a worldwide hatred for it.

[...]

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