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Court extends ‘killer wife’s’ prison stay to February 2018

Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court, Jabi, has refused to grant bail to Maryam Sanda, who is standing trial for allegedly murdering Bilyamin Bello, her husband, in their Maitama, Abuja, residence last month.

Sanda is the daughter of Maimuna Aliyu, former Executive Director of Aso Savings and Loans, whose nomination to the Board of the ICPC was overturned after the ICIR revealed she was being investigated for alleged corruption by the same agency.

Though Sanda had initially been arraigned on a two-count charge of culpable homicide and tampering with evidence, to which she pleaded not guilty, the charges were later amended to include her mother, Maimuna; his brother, Aliyu, and another suspect whose name was given as Sadiya.

According to the prosecution, the newly-added defendants were the ones who had tampered with the crime scene before investigators arrived.

At Thursday’s hearing, they all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Joseph Daudu, counsel to the accused persons, presented a medical report before the trial judge, urging him to grant the defendants bail, especially as Maryam, the principal suspect, is a nursing mother.

However, the prosecution team, led by Jacob Idachaba, opposed the bail application, saying that though he sympathizes with the baby, it is insufficient reason to ask for bail for the principal suspect.

As for the other three defendants, Idachaba argued that they should be in prison custody, adding however that the court should use its discretion to determine whether to grant them bail or not.

In his judgement, Justice Yusuf Halilu held that the principal suspect was strong enough to face trial, adding that the medical report presented by the defence counsel did not state that her ailment could not be adequately treatedat the prison’s medical facility.

“I have gone through the arguments of counsel for the defence and that of the prosecution as well as section 161 (2) of the ACJA relied upon by Daudu with regards to exceptional cases,” Justice Halilu said.

“However, there must be cogent evidence to show that the sickness the first defendant is suffering from is that which cannot be taken care of within the medical facility. It is not enough to include a medical certificate.

“Effort must be made to show that the defendant cannot be treated in the medical facility at the detention camp.

“I have seen from where I am, which is close to the duck that the first defendant is strong enough. The first defendant who has been inside the duck for over an hour is very strong.

“On the whole I am not favourably disposed to granting the first defendant bail. My discretion in her favour is hereby withheld.”

For the other defendants, Halilu granted them bail on the condition that they must produce “two sureties with evidence of residence within the centre of Abuja”.

“They shall deposit their travel documents in court. The two sureties shall deposit documents for their landed properties to the registrar of the court,” he said, before  adjourning the case to February 5, 6 and 7, 2018.

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