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Nigerian Government Rejects Fatwa Against Reporter - 2002-11-26

The Nigerian government has rejected a death sentence issued against the author of an article that sparked rioting over the Miss World beauty contest.

Nigeria’s information minister says Nigerian law does not allow such an order. The fatwa was issued by the Zamfara State government against Isioma Daniel, who wrote an article suggesting that the prophet Mohammed would have chosen a Miss World contestant as his wife.

Three days of sectarian violence left over 200 people dead and more than a thousand injured. The pageant was moved to London, and Ms. Daniel has reportedly left Nigeria.

English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey talked with our reporter in Lagos, Paul Okolo. Paul says many Nigerians are surprised at the death sentence. He says they don’t see the need for it, and the situation has damaged the country’s image. Paul says the Nigerian Journalist Association disapproves of the article, but it does not support the death sentence.