After prolonged legal battle lasting two years, Maryam Sanda, accused of killing her husband-Biliyaminu Bello was Monday sentenced to death by hanging by a Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja.
In his ruling, Justice Yusuf Halilu, who described the incidence as unfortunate and wicked held: “You Maryam Sanda is guilty of murder of your husband, Bilyaminu Bello. You are hereby convicted as charged.”
The trial dragged on for almost three years due to multiple adjournments, delays and witnesses’ inability to appear in court to testify.
How it happened
Blueprint reports that in November 2017, Sanda was accused of stabbing to death her husband-Bilyaminu- son of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed.
Consequently, the Police charged Sanda for culpable homicide, alleging that she killed the deceased with broken bottle at about 3:50 a.m. on Nov. 18, 2017.
The police insisted that the killing was premeditated.
The police also accused Maimuna Aliyu, Sanda’s mother; Aliyu, her brother, and Sadiya Aminu, her housemaid, of tampering with evidence by cleaning the blood and other proofs from the crime scene.
However, the charges of tampering and other proofs from the crime scenes were later dropped.
But while convicting Sanda on circumstantial evidence, the presiding judge, Justice Halilu said there was compelling evidence to convict the accused.
He dismissed Sanda’s statement that her husband fell on a broken Shisa pot during a fight on the ill-fated day as ‘smokescreen’ to mislead the court.
According to the judge, available evidence proved that the accused stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife with intent to ‘kill.’
Shortly before the judge’s pronouncement, the prosecution called six witnesses while the defence called two, the convict being one of the defence witnesses.
In her argument, Sanda’s lawyer, Regina Okotie-Eboh, argued that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations, saying the prosecution did not call nurses or doctors from the hospital where the deceased was taken to as witnesses.
Okotie-Eboh added that they failed to tender the knife with which the defendant allegedly used to perpetrate the act.
But while giving the verdict, Justice Halilu held that from the evidence before him, it was irredeemably clear that the accused fatally stabbed the deceased, adding that the two extrajudicial statements made by the convict were not disputed.
“The evidence of the convict was unreliable and circumstantial evidence is used in the place of eye witness account.
“I am convinced that the defendant stabbed the deceased and therefore guilty of charges against her.
“She is hereby convicted of the murder of her husband as charged,’’ he held.
Halilu held further: “From the entire circumstances of the case, justice to the society and to the deceased outweighs other elements of justice to the defendant. She should reap what she has sown, blood for blood.
“For it has been said that thou shall not kill and whoever kills in cold blood deserves death as his or her own reward or punishment.
“The mindless and senseless killing of men and women in our society must be seriously frowned upon.
“Accordingly, I hereby sentence Maryam Sanda to death by hanging.”
According to the judge, Sanda failed to explain the death of her husband being the last person seen with him and held that she stabbed her with a knife.
The judge said, “It is not only unfortunate but also wicked.
“You Maryam Sanda is guilty of murder of your husband, Bilyaminu Bello. You are hereby convicted as charged.”
He then ordered that she be remanded in Suleja Correctional Centre until the convict exhausts her right of appeal in the court of appeal,’’ Halilu said.
And the drama
A mild drama ensued shortly after the verdict was read to her as she shouted in the court room: “Inna lillahi wa inna illahi rojihun” meaning from You (God) we come and to You we shall return.
What followed was rowdiness in the court. The mild drama forced the judge to go back to his chamber to douse the tension generated by his pronouncement.
But when the judge finally passed the death sentence, the accused attempted to run out of the court room while her relatives started shouting, thereby causing uproar.
She was however prevented from escaping by a team of correctional officials and policemen who had beefed up security in and out of the court.
Another wife kills hubby
Meanwhile, the police Monday arrested a housewife for allegedly stabbing her husband to death in Malumfashi local government area of Katsina state.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Gambo Isah, said the wife, whose name was given as Rabi Shamsudden, 19, allegedly killed the husbandat Danjanku-Tasha village on Monday at about 4a.m.
“Today, January 27, 2020, we received report that one Rabi Shamsuddeen, 19, of Danjanku-Tasha in Malumfashi Local Government, allegedly stabbed her husband, Shamsuddeen Salisu, 25, with knife to death.
“The shout for help by Salisu attracted neighbours. When the people went to offer assistance, they discovered that the door to the compound was locked.
“Some of the people jumped into the compound and found the victim in the pool of his blood; crawling out from his room with a wound in his stomach.
“The neighbours also told the police that the wife (Rabi) was (allegedly) seen holding a knife with blood stains,” he said.
The police spokesman said Salisu was immediately rushed to Malumfashi General Hospital, where the doctors confirmed him dead on arrival.
He said that the police were investigating the matter, while the suspect was in police custody, and would be prosecuted after investigation. (NAN)
…The Sanda, Biliyaminu row
The two years of romance between Maryam Sanda and her late hubby-Bilyaminu Bello- hit the rock on the night of November 18, 2017 in their Wuse home, where the sad incident occurred.
It was learnt through various arguments and testimony advanced by the lawyer and witnesses that the tragedy was actually triggered by heated arguments between the two couple which arose from previous quarrel between the duo which degenerated into a fight.
According to one Ibrahim Mohammed, a friend to the deceased and one of the witnesses called by the prosecution, Sanda allegedly issued many threats to her husband, including chopping off his sex organ if he declined to grant her divorce.
He told the court he was with the deceased for over eight hours that night.
Mohammed said he tried disengaging Sanda’s hand from her husband’s neck before she rushed to break a bottle of groundnut on the wall and tried stabbing her husband with it.
“I held her hands and Bilyamin went behind her and collected the broken bottle from her.
“She said she would not stop until Bilyamin divorced her that night; that either he divorced her or she would cut his private part,” the witness said.
Mohammed said Ms Sanda made bold her threat as she launched more violent attacks on the deceased before his eyes.
The witness narrated that the first defendant made another attempt to stab her husband after breaking a bottle of perfume, but her husband collected the bottle.
“The first defendant then went to the kitchen and picked a knife with which she attempted again to stab the deceased.”
The witness said his late friend sustained several cuts while trying to disarm his wife.
Mohammed said he left the house with another friend, who he had called to broker peace between the couple, thinking that calm had been restored only to receive news of his friend’s death in the morning.
“I went to Maitama Hospital in the morning and met Bilyaminu lying on a bed in front of the hospital. There was a hole in his chest near the heart, bite on his stomach. There was a cut on his thigh and there was a sign of stitching on him,” he said.
However, in her testimony before the court, Sanda admitted that the two-year marriage that produced a baby girl was fraught with quarrels.
She, nevertheless, denied killing her husband or nursing such intentions, arguing that trouble started after she discovered nude pictures of another woman in her late husband’s phone and confronted him.
Sanda said she had asked for a divorce before arguments which continued late into the night snowballed into a fight.
“He pushed me and as I was falling down, I mistakenly broke his Shisha bottle and the water inside spilled on the floor. He pinned me to the ground and I heard our daughter crying. I told him to leave me so that I could attend to her and he loosened up a bit and I struggled to my feet”, she narrated.
The accused said the deceased fell against the broken Shisha pot in an attempt to hold her down again. “I saw a broken bottle pricked into his chest which I removed and covered the chest with a scarf.”
The young woman said she rushed her husband to Maitama General Hospital where he was confirmed dead.
Sanda’s relatives allegedly assisted her in cleaning up the crime scene and no autopsy was carried out to ascertain the actual cause of Bello’s death.
It was on that account that they were docked earlier, only to be left off the hook after the charge was dropped.