Absence of co-defendants stall fresh arraignment of Maryam Sanda

The victim, Mr. Haliru Bello and Wife, Maryam Sanda
The victim, Mr. Haliru Bello and Wife, Maryam Sanda [Photo credit: THISDAYLIVE]

The absence of co-defendants in the trial of Maryam Sanda, who allegedly stabbed her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, to death, stalled hearing in the case on Thursday.

Mr. Bello was the son of a former Peoples Democratic Party chairman, Haliru Bello.

The names of the three co-defendants to be arraigned alongside Sanda before Justice Yusuf Halilu of FCT High Court, Jabi, were, however, not mentioned.

At the last court sitting on Nov. 24, the prosecuting counsel, James Idachaba, prayed the court to adjourn the matter to enable the filing of an amendment based on new facts.

The filing of the amendment charge consequently brought in the other defendants.

The trial judge, therefore, said it was necessary to wait for the prosecution to bring the other defendants before further action could be taken on the matter.

Mr. Halilu said “I have listened to the defendant counsel, I will not grant her bail, all arguments about her bail application shall be taken together on Thursday, Dec. 14 when all other co-defendants will be brought to court.

“We must be very tidy, I am a judge with principle, the prosecution has enough time to encourage the sureties to look for other defendants; this is an amendment charge’ you must make extra effort to get other defendants arraigned before me.

“In the meantime, the defendant should be taken back to Suleja prison.”

Earlier, Mr. Idachaba told the court that all efforts to bring other co-defendants were not possible as their present location could not be ascertained.

He said it had been very difficult for the prosecution to serve the co-defendants and prayed the court to adjourn the matter to another day.

“We will do our very best to bring them to court; the bail application should not be taking now since others are not here, there is a new charge before the court and some other prove of evidence.

“We feel it may not be necessary to take the bail application now, this should be in the interest of justice; we pray that the application should be adjourned to be taken with the new amendment charge,’’ Idachaba said.

On his part, the defendant counsel led by Joseph Daudu, told the judge that “more papers and better affidavit to defend the matter had been filed before the court.”

According to Mr. Daudu, there is no law that guides the application of the prosecution that bail should not be granted in the absence of co-defendants.

“What the prosecution is saying is strange; we cannot suffer for their ill preparedness, the former charge before the court upon which the defendant is charged should be taken.

“We urge the court to exercise its discretion and rule on the bail application because the place where the defendant is, is not conducive.

“It is bad for a woman nursing a child like her to be in that place, I orally pray the court that she should be released on bail,’’ Mr. Daudu said.

While the hearing lasted, a group protested outside the court room carrying placards with inscriptions: “No to violence against men’’, “I endorse equal rights to men campaign’’.

The Coordinator of the group, Awojola Kehinde, said “No to violence against women had been on the centre stage before now; it was time to start campaign to end violence against men.”


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