A Federal Capital Territory High Court has fixed 3: p.m on Wednesday to decide on a bail application by Maryam Sanda, who is facing trial over the murder of former PDP chairman’s son, Biliyaminu Halliru.
Mr. Halliru was allegedly killed by Maryam, his wife of two years in November at their residence located at number 4, Pakali Close, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.
She had been arraigned on a charge of homicide in November, but the prosecution, the Nigeria Police amended the charge on December 4 to include Mrs. Sanda’s mother, Maimuna Aliyu, her brother, Aliyu Sanda, and their house-help, Sadiya Aminu.
According to the two-count charge filed pursuant to sections 221 and 167 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and Penal Code respectively, Mrs. Sanda is accused in the first charge of allegedly stabbing Bilyaminu multiple times with the aim of killing him. The offence is punishable by death.
Count two of the charge indicts the three other accused persons of being accomplices to the crime by allegedly cleaning off the blood of Mr. Haliru from the crime scene, in an attempt to conceal evidence from appropriate authorities.
After pleading not guilty to the crime, the defence counsel, Joseph Daudu, urged the court to grant the first defendant bail on the grounds that the defence had been able to show that she will not jump bail.
According to Mr. Daudu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a medical certificate tendered before the court shows that the first defendant had a medical condition that necessitates her care at a reputable hospital.
Mr. Daudu added that Mrs. Sanda has an eight-month old baby requiring motherly care and attention, hence admitting her to bail would help save the child from unwarranted inconveniences.
He also also argued that contrary to the provisions of the Penal Code, the ACJA presumes a person innocent until proven guilty. The lawyer also contended that the sections of the ACJA dealing with bail allows a person bail, if he will not jump bail. It only allows discretion of the court.
Reacting to the submissions of Mr. Daudu, the prosecution lawyer, James Idachaba, said they had filed a counter affidavit and a written address in response to the bail application.
He said the law does not impose any duty on the prosecution when it comes to the issue of bail. “The duty of convincing the court lies solely with the applicant for bail and at the discretion of the court,” Mr. Idachaba said; stressing that the court should exercise its discretion ‘judicially and judiciously’.
“Regarding the issue of baby, my heart goes out to the innocent baby. But the law is clear and we cannot use that as a ground,” Mr. Idachaba added.
Speaking about the other defendants, Mr. Idachaba acknowledged the fact they have enjoyed administrative bail, but added that haven being brought to the court, their bail application is strictly at the discretion of the court.
The judge, Yusuf Halilu, asked the prosecution to clarify whether he was against the bail application of the second to fourth defendant or not.
Mr. Idachaba responded saying the view of the prosecution is that the defendants should all remain in custody pending the determination of their trial.
The court adjourned the matter till 3: p.m for ruling on the bail application.