Maryam Sanda

Alex Enumah in Abuja

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Jabi, Abuja, thursday refused the bail application of Maryam Sanda who is accused of killing her husband, Bilyamin Bello, son of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Justice Yusuf Halilu, who rejected Sanda’s application for bail, however, granted that of her co-accused.

Maryam, her mother, Meimunat Aliyu, a former Director of Aso Savings and Loans, and two other members of their family are being prosecuted by the federal government over their alleged complicity in the death of late Bilyamin.

Meimuna, Aliyu Sanda and Sadia Aminu were alleged to have tampered with evidence of the said offence.

They were arraigned on a two-count criminal charge preferred against them by the police.
They however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

While count one of the charge borders on murder and culpable homicide, charged and directed at Maryam, the second borders on concelling true information from the police and tampering with evidence was targeted at the three other defendants.

Following their not guilty plea, prosecuting counsel, James Idachaba, prayed the court for an adjournment to enable them prepare for the trial.

Responding, defence counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), however brought an application praying the court to admit the defendants to bail pending their trial.
But the application for bail was opposed by prosecution counsel.

In his ruling on the bail application for Maryam, the trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, held that the applicant did not give an exceptional circumstance to warrant the court to exercise its discretion in her favour.

He noted that the defence counsel in his submission stated that Maryam is having a life threatening disease which cannot be taken care of by the prison facility.

The court however held that the applicant did not present a proof that such disease cannot be handled by the prison facility.

Responding on the second grounds canvassed by Daudu that Maryam is having an eight month old baby, the court held that such factor cannot be a ground for the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the defendant.

The court consequently refused the bail application for Maryam.
For other three defendants, the court noted that since they were on police administrative bail, there was no reason why bail should not be granted in their favour.

Justice Halilu therefore granted the three other defendants bail with two sureties with evidence of residence in Abuja.

He added that such sureties must submit their travel documents with the registrar of the court and also the title documents of their landed properties.

The court added that such documents would be verified and authenticated.
The court later adjourned till February 5,6,7 and 8, 2017 for commencement of trial.

Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) thursday threatened to obtain a bench warrant against Meimunat who was scheduled for arraignment before another court yesterday over allegation of fraud.

Meimunat could not attend the court where she was billed to answer charges on alleged fraud owing to her joinder in a murder case.

Her daughter, Maryam, was alleged to have stabbed her late husband Bilyaminu, with dangerous weapon on November 19 in Abuja.

Meimuna and two others, Aliyu Sanda and Sadia Aminu, were alleged to have tampered with evidence of the said offence.

But the ICPC reacting to her absence at the trial yesterday, said it may be forced to apply for a bench warrant against Meimuna who was a former Director at the Aso Savings and Loans so as to come and face her trial over alleged fraud.

Meimuna was meant to be arraigned before Justice Mero Nasiru of Court 16 but she was not in attendance.

The court was however informed that the defendant was before Justice Yusuf Halilu of Court 32 to answer to a murder case where she was joined as co-defendant, alongside her daughter.
The court however frowned at such act, saying in order of hierachy, the defendant ought to have appeared before it first and not the other way round.
Justice Nasiru however adjourned till January 11, 2018.