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Maryam Sanda pleads not guilty, remanded for allegedly killing husband

A tearful Maryam Sanda was yesterday  ordered to be remanded in Suleja prisons after she told an FCT High Court in Jabi that she was not guilty of the murder charge filed against her by the police.

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The FCT Police Command in a two-count charge accused Maryam, the daughter of a former Executive Director of Aso Savings and Loans, Hajiya Maimuna Aliyu Sanda, of killing her husband, Bilyamin Bello, the son of Alhaji Bello Halliru Muhammad, a former chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The Officer in Charge of Legal Department of FCT Police, CSP James Idachaba, told the court that the present charge against Maryam was a product of preliminary investigations. He said new facts had since emerged and as such the charge would be amended before the next adjourned date.

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He told the court that the accused, who is a nursing mother of an eight-month old baby, had earlier been remanded in police custody with an exparte motion before she was brought to court.

Barrister Husseini Musa, counsel to the accused, orally pleaded with the court to release Maryam on bail pending the determination of the case.

When the oral application for bail was discountenanced by the court, he urged it to consider that Maryam was a nursing mother and order that she be returned to police custody.

Reacting to this, the judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, said he did not like being dragged into the drama acted in courts by lawyers. “It is not proper to send the defendant back to the custody of the prosecution once arraignment has been done,” the judge said.

He thereafter adjourned the case to December 7 for hearing and ordered Maryam to be remanded in the Suleja prisons.

The prison, which is one of the three prison facilities where accused and convicted persons in the FCT are kept, is a unisex facility, unlike Kuje prisons which is only for males.

Our reporter observed that the Suleja prisons had some nursing mothers as inmates during a recent prison tour with the FCT High Court Chief Judge, Justice Ishaq Bello.

Maryam in court, baby not on trial

With heavy police presence, Maryam was brought to the court which was filled to capacity as early as 10am though the arraignment was scheduled for 11am.

While waiting for the arrival of the judge, she was seen with her baby, howbeit with a veil covering her face. When she was called to enter the dock, she kept on holding onto her baby until the judge told her to drop the baby with someone else since the baby was not on trial.

Inside the dock, she was holding onto a copy of the Holy Quran and a prayer rosary while the veil was still covering her face. This prompted the judge to direct her to re-adjust her veil to ensure that her face was visible to him.

Maryam sobbed through the proceedings and she responded, “I am not guilty” when asked if she was guilty or not.

The day that took a life and changed the course of marriage

A friend of the deceased told Daily Trust that the events that climaxed into the death of Bilyamin Bello in early hours of last Sunday started as a fight late evening of the previous day after Maryam saw correspondences between her husband  and another woman on his phone.

“We were with them at their residence at Pension Estate, Pakali Close, Wuse 2, Abuja till late in the evening when she continued shouting on top of her voice that he must divorce her because she alleged that he was having affairs and we mediated.

“One hour later after we left, we were informed that he had died as a result of several stabs in the chest and abdomen,” the friend said.

Other sources said Bilyamin had just returned from a pharmacy where he was treated for wounds he earlier sustained when Maryam bit his finger in one of their earlier fights. He was stabbed three times in the back and severally on his private part in the early hours of Sunday, one of the sources said.

However, when Daily Trust visited the Maitama General Hospital where the deceased was confirmed dead after Maryam drove him there, a source who was on ground when the deceased was brought into the hospital said he saw two injuries on his chest.

He said one looked like teeth bite while the other was either from a bottle or knife stabbing. He said he could not confirm the number of points (if any) that the deceased was stabbed in his thigh because the entire area was soaked with blood.

A friend of Maryam who is also close to her family told Daily Trust that when both families got to the hospital they all started weeping and the mother of the deceased was even the one wiping tears from the face of Maryam’s mother.

The source said reports that the family of the deceased had been hostile towards Maryam’s family are not true.

“It is a lie, if you hear these things, they are coming from either village people or those not close to the family but are forming familiarity. The father of the deceased even stopped these village people from coming because he doesn’t want to create any scene.

“The father of the deceased has forgiven Maryam since that day the incident happened,” the source said.

She added that Alhaji Bello Halliru Muhammad is actually an uncle to Bilyamin. “He was the one that trained him. Bilyamin is even the one that was taking care of the former PDP chairman. He was the one taking him to the hospital and his medicines were under his care,” he said.

 Who is Maryam Sanda?

A friend of Maryam who attended the same school with her, said she graduated from the University of Maiduguri in 2010 with a major in English Language and she and Bilyamin had been dating since her undergraduate years.

“Though Bilyamin ended up getting married to another lady, the relationship with Maryam continued and they got married after Bilyamin divorced his first wife less than a year after they married.

“Not long after the divorce, he married Maryam in October 2015. They just had their two years wedding anniversary before the incident,” the source said.

The source said the incident leading to the death of Bilyamin was shocking because Maryam was a patient woman and not known to be quick to anger.

 “She is not a violent person, although she doesn’t talk too much,” the source said.

A visit to Maryam’s Instagram account showed the account as a private one with “Mrs Bilyamin” as the profile name.

 “Be happy with being you. Love your flaws. Own your quirks. And know that you are just as perfect as anyone else, exactly as you are,” Maryam wrote in the Bio section of her Instagram page.

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