Wife of Murdered Ex-PDP Chairman’s Son Has Case to Answer, Says Court

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

An Abuja High Court in Maitama Thursday ruled that Maryam Sanda, wife of the late Bilyamin Bello, son of the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has a case to answer in the death of her husband.

Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Abuja High Court, in a ruling delivered yesterday, held that the prosecution was able to establish a prima facie against the first defendant.

He consequently dismissed Maryam’s no-case-submission in the two-count culpable homicide charge filed against her by the Nigerian Police Force, and ordered her to enter her defence.

The police in the charge had accused Maryam of stabbing her husband to death with a broken bottle on November 19 at their Abuja residence.

According to the police, the charge marked CR/15/17 was brought pursuant to section 109(d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

The police also charged Maryam of “causing grievous hurt,” an offence contrary to section 247 of the Penal Code Law.

However, the police later amended the charge to include Maryam’s mother, Maimuna Aliyu; her brother, Aliyu Sanda, and one Sadiya Aminu, as co-defendant in the matter.

The prosecution alleged that Maryam’s family members attempted to destroy evidence that linked her to the murder.

It alleged that upon realising that an offence of culpable homicide was committed, the other defendants “did cause evidence of the offence to disappear.’’

According to the police, the other defendants had carefully cleaned the blood from the scene of the crime with the intention of screening the first defendant, Maryam, from legal punishment, an act it noted is punishable under Section 167 of the Penal Code Law.

To prove its case against the defendants the police called a total of six witnesses.

But the defendants in their responses submitted that the prosecution failed to link them to the alleged crime, and urged the court to discharge and acquit them of the charge.

According to them, the totality of the proof of evidence by the prosecution was not enough to warrant the court to compel them to open their defence to the charge.

But in his ruling, the judge held that the prosecution has established a prima facie against Maryam, and ordered her to open her defence.

The court, however, upheld the no-case submission that was made by the other defendants and accordingly discharged and acquitted them of the charge.

Justice Halilu therefore adjourned till May 6 for Maryam to open her defence.