© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
‘Killer-wife’ Maryam Sanda is ‘three months pregnant’ and wants bail — but there are questions
Maryam Sanda, alleged killer of Bilyamin Bello, nephew of Haliru Bello, former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says she is three months pregnant and wants the court to grant her bail based on that.
Joseph Daudu, Sanda’s lawyer, told Justice Yusuf Halilu that he had done his research and that the accused person is truly pregnant.
“My lord, the new fact is that she is three months pregnant and I have done my research,” Daudu said. “Apart from issue of blood pressure, pregnancy is a thing that comes with complicating issues. I urge the court to exercise its discretion under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and grant the defendant bail.”
This is a fresh twist to the murder trial of Sanda, whose mother, Maimuna Aliyu, and brother, Aliyu Sanda, have also been charged with tampering with evidence, as they were accused of “cleaning the blood from the scene of crime with the intention of screening one Maryam Sanda from legal punishment”.
SANDA HAS A SIX-MONTH-OLD BABY
Sanda was first arraigned in court in November 2017, and after she pleaded not guilty to the charges against her, she was remanded at the Suleja Prison.
On the next day of hearing, Sanda’s lawyer, Daudu applied for bail for her client on the basis that she is “a nursing mother” whose baby is just six months old.
“It is unfortunate that a life has been lost already, but we should not take more lives,” Daudu pleaded.
But the judge ignored Daudu’s pleas and ordered that Sanda should be returned to the Suleja Prison pending the next adjourned date. On the next adjourned date, the trial judge again refused to grant the accused person bail after an application by her lawyer.
This time around, Daudu presented a medical report claiming that Sanda was ill and needed urgent medical attention. He also asked the court to give consideration to the fact that the accused person is a breastfeeding mother.
Again, Justice Halilu struck out the bail application, saying: “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 dock, 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.”
Justice Halilu ordered that Sanda should remain in prison until February 5, which is the day for the next hearing.
Notice that all through these several bail applications, the defence counsel never mentioned that his client was pregnant, not even when he presented a medical report claiming she was ill. Could a report issued after medical examination have missed the pregnancy?
How is it possible that Sanda was already pregnant as of the time she allegedly murdered her husband and she never knew about it, given that she already had a child and was therefore no stranger to pregnancy and its symptoms?
Is this another ploy by Daudu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who is popular for defending persons whose characters are seen by many as questionable, to twist the arm of the court and obtain bail for a client who is standing murder trial — an offence that is not bailable?
One thing is certain, nevertheless: a pregnancy cannot be hidden forever. In three or four months, we all shall know the truth.