Maryam Sanda Trial: Witnesses narrate how victim was allegedly killed

Maryam Sanda
File photo of Maryam Sanda, with a blue veil covering her face,sitting beside her house-help and police officer at the court.

Three witnesses on Thursday narrated what may have led to the death of Bilyaminu Bello, who was allegedly killed by his wife, Maryam Sanda.

Mr Bello, a son of former Peoples Democratic Party chairman, Haliru Bello was killed by in November, 2017.

Ms Sanda was charged for murder alongside her mother, Maimuna Aliyu; her brother, Aliyu Sanda, and their house-help, Sadiya Aminu.

On Thursday, a prosecution lawyer, Fidelis Ogbebe, presented three witnesses, Hamza Abdullahi, Simon Okon and Usman Aliyu to a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama.

Mr Abdullahi, the laundry man, narrated his version.

“On November 17,2017, I was lying down around 1-2am when I heard Mr Bilyaminu’s voice, I stood up and went to meet him, then I saw him holding a shirt he used in covering one side of his chest, two minutes later, the wife came out with a car key and said we should help her take him (Mr Bilyaminu) to the car. When we tried to raise him we discovered there was blood.

“I and the other two put Bilyaminu in the car, then the wife drove the car. While in the car, Bilyaminu’s wife asked me of a nearby hospital which I told her was Maitama Clinic. Getting to the clinic, we met a nurse that helped us call the doctor. Upon the doctor’s arrival he asked what happened, he asked her three times and she did not respond. Then the doctor asked us to take him to another hospital after which we moved to Maitama General Hospital, again the doctor there asked what happened. This is how when she opened up and said they have fighting since morning.

“The doctor later discovered that Bilyaminu had died. From there the doctor asked her to make calls and she said her phone and that of her husband got destroyed while they were fighting. She was then given a phone and she told her relatives the news.

“The relatives came, collected her veil and covered the deceased. Then the deceased mother came, she opened her son’s face and looked at it. While looking, she noticed a knife stab on the chest of her son and bites on the left and right hand side of the chest. One of his fingers was cut and also his private part.

“When we got back home, we discovered that the bloodstain we left had already been cleaned, then I asked Alabi who cleaned it and said he was not the one.”

Mr Okon, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) attached to the Maitama Police Station, also narrated his version.

“At about 03:45hours, I was on night duty then I received a call from the Maitama General Hospital that a lady was there with a lifeless body. On arrival I met Maryam standing beside the deceased who was covered with a veil.

“I immediately removed the veil and took some pictures and I handed over the deceased to the mortuary for autopsy and then took the accused to the police station. Upon reaching the station, Maryam volunteered to write a statement.

“In her statement she wrote that she and her husband had misunderstanding, while they were fighting, she broke a shisha bottle (also known as the ḡalyān, is a single or multi stemmed device that is used to either smoke or vaporise flavoured tobacco). Due to the slippery nature of the floor, he slipped, fell on the broken bottle and it injured him. I asked her if this is all what she has to say and she replied, yes. I signed and she was detained.

“In company of the relatives, we visited the incident scene where I saw some broken bottles on the floor but there was no bloodstain. I went to the bedroom still there was no bloodstain, I had the exhibit (the shisha bottle) in my hand.

“Coming back to the office, I met the relatives of the deceased who put forward an application that the deceased be released and be buried according to Islamic rights. With this, the deceased was released. I then handed over the matter to the state criminal investigative department (CID) to carryout investigations.

“The state CID (official) was asked to write a statement which he did. That is how the autopsy was not done as they claimed, it is against the religion. They afterwards buried him.”

In a cross examination, the defendant’s lawyer, Olusegun Jolaawo, asked Mr Okon if he discovered any other thing aside the bottle and he (policeman) said no.

Mr Okon added that as at the time he took the pictures of Mr Bilyaminu, the wounds were still fresh.

The third witness, Mr Aliyu also narrated what happened.

“On November 17, I called Bilyaminu around 1:30 pm to know whether he was in the house. He asked me what was wrong and I said I wanted to come and watch football. He said I can come and that Maryam was around.

“I knocked the door around 2:00pm, the housemaid opened the door and we sat to watch the ball. At about 4:30 pm, there was a knock at the door, then I opened the door and it was Maryam’s friend that came in. They stayed far away, this was when she knew I was in the house.

“Later Bilyaminu came back with Ibrahim and immediately went straight to have his bath. He came back and we started conversation. At 7:45pm, he stood up to say his isha (night) prayers and later put the praying mat aside. I left the house 8:15pm.

“At 12:00 am, I gave a call again and asked if he was at home , he said yes, I went and met him with Ibrahim. They were discussing about repairing Maryam’s car. While we were talking, I saw someone peeping by the kitchen and went back. I then told him that I wanted to leave because I do not want her to think I am disturbing their privacy. Ibrahim also said he wanted to leave.

“Bilyaminu entered the toilet to perform ablution. I left him and Ibrahim, immediately l left the house. Ibrahim flashed (missed call) me and said I should go back that Bilyaminu and Maryam fought around 8:00pm after I left earlier. I told him if I had known, I would have remained in the house.”

Following the witnesses’ accounts, Mr Ogbebe said there were four more witness that he would like to present to the court but they wre not present.

The judge, Yusuf Halilu, then adjourned the matter to November 26 for continuation of hearing.

Ms Sanda and the other accused are facing a two-count charge for the alleged offence.

The charge was brought pursuant to sections 221 and 167 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and Penal Code respectively.

Ms Sanda is accused in the first charge of allegedly stabbing her husband of two years multiple times with the aim of killing him. The offence is punishable with death.

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