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Nigerian Rapist: Where Art Thou for Stoning?

The Nigerian woman is poor and pregnant. She is sentenced to die by stoning. The male who raped her gets off scot-free.

  • J. Grant Swank, Jr.,
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The Nigerian woman is poor and pregnant. She is sentenced to die by stoning. The male who raped her gets off scot-free.

Take note, world, of still another Islamic pride point.

Thirty-one year old stoic Amina Lawal, holding her child next to her cheek, claims calmly that God will see her through the ordeal.

Nursing her baby, Ms. Lawal sits barefoot. She, reared in the northern state of Katsina, one of a dozen in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north, was brought up with nothing, except hard-line Islamic legalism, or Sharia.

"My childhood was too hard. The day was spent just getting enough food. What is happening now is something that God will take care of."

She is accused of committing adultery that led to the conception of Wasila, ten months old. For this, mother will be buried up to her neck, then stoned till she is dead.

Because there is no electricity in her village, Ms. Lawal is not aware of the worldwide publicity given to her plight.

Informed by reporters that the global spotlight has lighted her upcoming trial, she responds by saying her immediate concern is not such attention but medical care for her child. Moreover, she questions whether she will be alive to see her daughter walk.

If her second appeal fails, mother will be executed as soon as Wasila is weaned or by 2004, whichever comes first.

Married off before puberty, she had two children as a teen. Her husband left her for reasons she still does not comprehend. She went to live with her father and his four wives.

One day she was raped by a man she had believed was a friend. When it became known that she was with child, the Islamic legalists, Hisbah, took her to Sharia court.

There are four other women facing the same sentence. In addition, 11 children in Sokoto state are to have their hands cut off because of stealing. They await the amputation machine.

All victims live in poverty. The wealthy commit such offenses without interference. "The rich do exactly the same thing but they are not punished," said one worker. "One of the judges who tried these women got his girlfriend pregnant. Other members of the Sharia court had daughters who got pregnant. Nothing ever happens to them."

And ... to return to the fact that it "takes two to tango," nothing seems to happen to rapists either.

  • J. Grant Swank, Jr.
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