Murder: Wife of ex-PDP chairman’s son remanded in custody

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The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Jabi, Abuja, on Friday remanded in Suleja Prison, Niger State, Maryam Sanda, who allegedly stabbed her husband, Bilyamin Bello, to death on November 19.

Justice Yusuf Halilu remanded her in prison after she pleaded not guilty to two counts of culpable homicide and causing the deceased grievous hurt.

The charges were preferred against her by the police on November 20.

The defendant, a nursing mother, allegedly stabbed her husband in the chest and neck with a broken bottle at about 3.50am on November 19.

The incident was said to have taken place at their residence located at 4, Pakali Close, Wuse 2, Abuja.

The deceased was a son of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Haliru Bello. Sanda was already seated in-between two women in the courtroom, feeding her infant when the trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, arrived at exactly 11 am on Friday.

When her case was called, she stood up and handed the baby to one of the women.

She held a Qu’ran and a Tasbih (Islamic prayer beads) as she headed to the dock.

Standing in the dock, the judge asked her to unveil her face.

“I hope you know that you are before a court of law. Don’t shield your face from the court. You should try as much as possible to pay attention to the charges that will be read to you and try as much as possible to understand,” the judge said.

She responded “I am not guilty” in a whimpering tone.

Her alleged stabbing of the deceased on the chest was said to have led to his death.

She was, therefore, accused of culpable homicide in count 1 and the offence is punishable by death under section 221 of the Penal Code Law.

She was also accused of causing Bello “grievous hurt” by stabbing him on the neck, an act said to be contrary to Section 240 (g) and punishable under Section 247 of the Penal Code Law.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. James Idachaba, told the court that the charges filed against the defendant on November 20 were products of a preliminary investigation.

He said with the new facts that emerged after further investigation, the charges would still be amended.

The defence counsel, Mr. Oseni Musa, asked the court to grant the defendant bail.

He pleaded that since the defendant was nursing an infant of less than six months old, she should be remanded in police custody pending the determination of her bail application. But the trial judge directed that the defence should file a formal application in that regard.

He insisted that once an accused was arraigned, the proper place of custody was the prison and not the custody of the investigating agency.

The judge then ordered her to be remanded in the Suleja Prison and adjourned until December 7.

The charges read in part, “That you, Maryam Sanda, female, adult of 4 Pakali Close, Wuse 2, Abuja, on November 19, 2017, at about 0350hours at No. 4 Pakali Close, Wuse 2, Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division, did commit the offence of culpable homicide punishable with death in that you caused the death of one Bilyaminu Bello Haliru, male adult of No. 4 Pakali Close, Wuse 2, Abuja by stabbing him in the chest with a broken bottle which eventually led to his death and you did so with the knowledge that your act is likely to cause his death.”