Maryam Sanda pleads not guilty, re­manded in prison

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Cle­ment A. Oloyede

Atear­ful Maryam Sanda was yes­ter­day or­dered to be re­manded in Suleja pris­ons after she told an FCT High Court in Jabi that she was not guilty of the mur­der charge filed against her by the po­lice.

The FCT Po­lice Com­mand in a two-count charge ac­cused Maryam, the daugh­ter of a for­mer Executive Director of Aso Sav­ings and Loans, Ha­jiya Maimuna Aliyu Sanda, of killing her hus­band, Bilyamin Bello, the son of Al­haji Bello Hal­liru Muham­mad, a for­mer chair­man of the Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party (PDP).

The Of­fi­cer in Charge of Le­gal Depart­ment of FCT Po­lice, CSP James Idachaba, told the court that the present charge against Maryam was a prod­uct of pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions. He said new facts had since emerged and as such the charge would be amended be­fore the next ad­journed date.

He told the court that the ac­cused, who is a nurs­ing mother of an eight-month old baby, had ear­lier been re­manded in po­lice cus­tody with an ex­parte mo­tion be­fore she was brought to court.

Bar­ris­ter Hus­seini Musa, coun­sel to the ac­cused, orally pleaded with the court to re­lease Maryam on bail pend­ing the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the case.

When the oral ap­pli­ca­tion for bail was dis­coun­te­nanced by the court, he urged it to con­sider that Maryam was a nurs­ing mother and or­der that she be re­turned to po­lice cus­tody.

Re­act­ing to this, the judge, Jus­tice Yusuf Halilu, said he did not like be­ing dragged into the drama acted in courts by lawyers. “It is not proper to send the de­fen­dant back to the cus­tody of the pros­e­cu­tion once ar­raign­ment has been done,” the judge said.

He there­after ad­journed the case to De­cem­ber 7 for hear­ing and or­dered Maryam to be re­manded in the Suleja pris­ons.

The prison, which is one of the three prison fa­cil­i­ties where ac­cused and con­victed per­sons in the FCT are kept, is a uni­sex fa­cil­ity, un­like Kuje pris­ons which is only for males.

Our re­porter ob­served that the Suleja pris­ons had some nurs­ing moth­ers as in­mates dur­ing a re­cent prison tour with the FCT High Court Chief Judge, Jus­tice Ishaq Bello.

Maryam in court, baby not on trial

With heavy po­lice pres­ence, Maryam was brought to the court which was filled to ca­pac­ity as early as 10am though the ar­raign­ment was sched­uled for 11am.

While wait­ing for the ar­rival of the judge, she was seen with her baby, how­beit with a veil cov­er­ing her face. When she was called to en­ter the dock, she kept on hold­ing onto her baby un­til the judge told her to drop the baby with some­one else since the baby was not on trial.

In­side the dock, she was hold­ing onto a copy of the Holy Qu­ran and a prayer rosary while the veil was still cov­er­ing her face. This prompted the judge to direct her to re-ad­just her veil to en­sure that her face was vis­i­ble to him.

Maryam sobbed through the pro­ceed­ings and she re­sponded, “I am not guilty” when asked if she was guilty or not.

The day that took a life and changed the course of mar­riage

A friend of the de­ceased told Daily Trust that the events that cli­maxed into the death of Bilyamin Bello in early hours of last Sun­day started as a fight late evening of the pre­vi­ous day after Maryam saw cor­re­spon­dences be­tween her hus­band and an­other woman on his phone.

“We were with them at their res­i­dence at Pen­sion Es­tate, Pakali Close, Wuse 2, Abuja till late in the evening when she con­tin­ued shout­ing on top of her voice that he must divorce her be­cause she al­leged that he was hav­ing af­fairs and we me­di­ated.

“One hour later after we left, we were in­formed that he had died as a re­sult of sev­eral stabs in the ch­est and ab­domen,” the friend said.

Other sources said Bilyamin had just re­turned from a phar­macy where he was treated for wounds he ear­lier sus­tained when Maryam bit his fin­ger in one of their ear­lier fights. He was stabbed three times in the back and sev­er­ally on his private part in the early hours of Sun­day, one of the sources said.

How­ever, when Daily Trust vis­ited the Maitama Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal where the de­ceased was con­firmed dead after Maryam drove him there, a source who was on ground when the de­ceased was brought into the hos­pi­tal said he saw two in­juries on his ch­est.

He said one looked like teeth bite while the other was ei­ther from a bot­tle or knife stab­bing. He said he could not con­firm the num­ber of points (if any) that the de­ceased was stabbed in his thigh be­cause the en­tire area was soaked with blood.

A friend of Maryam who is also close to her fam­ily told Daily Trust that when both fam­i­lies got to the hos­pi­tal they all started weep­ing and the mother of the de­ceased was even the one wip­ing tears from the face of Maryam’s mother.

The source said re­ports that the fam­ily of the de­ceased had been hos­tile to­wards Maryam’s fam­ily are not true.

“It is a lie, if you hear th­ese things, they are com­ing from ei­ther vil­lage peo­ple or those not close to the fam­ily but are form­ing fa­mil­iar­ity. The fa­ther of the de­ceased even stopped th­ese vil­lage peo­ple from com­ing be­cause he doesn’t want to cre­ate any scene.

“The fa­ther of the de­ceased has for­given Maryam since that day the in­ci­dent hap­pened,” the source said.

She added that Al­haji Bello Hal­liru Muham­mad is ac­tu­ally an un­cle to Bilyamin. “He was the one that trained him. Bilyamin is even the one that was tak­ing care of the for­mer PDP chair­man. He was the one tak­ing him to the hos­pi­tal and his medicines were under his care,” he said.

Who is Maryam Sanda?

A friend of Maryam who at­tended the same school with her, said she grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Maiduguri in 2010 with a ma­jor in English Lan­guage and she and Bilyamin had been dat­ing since her un­der­grad­u­ate years.

“Though Bilyamin ended up get­ting mar­ried to an­other lady, the re­la­tion­ship with Maryam con­tin­ued and they got mar­ried after Bilyamin di­vorced his first wife less than a year after they mar­ried.

“Not long after the divorce, he mar­ried Maryam in Oc­to­ber 2015. They just had their two years wed­ding an­niver­sary be­fore the in­ci­dent,” the source said.

The source said the in­ci­dent lead­ing to the death of Bilyamin

A friend of Maryam who is also close to her fam­ily told Daily Trust that when both fam­i­lies got to the hos­pi­tal they all started weep­ing and the mother of the de­ceased was even the one wip­ing tears from the face of Maryam’s mother

was shock­ing be­cause Maryam was a pa­tient woman and not known to be quick to anger.

“She is not a vi­o­lent per­son, al­though she doesn’t talk too much,” the source said.

A visit to Maryam’s In­sta­gram ac­count showed the ac­count as a private one with “Mrs Bilyamin” as the pro­file name.

“Be happy with be­ing you. Love your flaws. Own your quirks. And know that you are just as per­fect as any­one else, ex­actly as you are,” Maryam wrote in the Bio section of her In­sta­gram page.

While wait­ing for the ar­rival of the judge, she was seen with her baby, how­beit with a veil cov­er­ing her face. When she was called to en­ter the dock, she kept on hold­ing onto her baby un­til the judge told her to drop the baby with some­one else since the baby was not on trial

Maryam Sanda (2nd left) dur­ing her ar­raign­ment at the FCT High Court in Jabi yes­ter­day Photo: Abubakar Yakubu

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