Maryam Sanda dies by hanging for killing son of ex PDP Chair

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An Abuja High Court presided by Justice Yusuf Halilu Bello has sentenced Maryam Sanda to death by hanging for stabbing her husband, Bilyaminu, to death.

The police accused Sanda of stabbing her husband multiple times at about 3:50a.m. on November 19, 2017. Bilyaminu is the late son of a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Delivering judgment, Justice Yusuf convicted Maryam on circumstantial evidence.

The police insisted the killing was premeditated and  also accused Sanda’s mother, Maimuna Aliyu; her brother, Aliyu; and Sadiya Aminu, her housemaid, of tampering with evidence by cleaning the blood and other elements of proof from the crime scene, but the charges were later dropped. They were charged with conspiracy in the murder case.

Maryam who had filed a no case submission in the case is a nursing mother. She had the baby during the period of the case.

Justice Yusuf dismissed Sanda’s statement that her husband fell on a broken Shisha pot during a fight on the day of the incident as a “smokescreen to deceive the court”. He ruled that there was compelling evidence to convict Sanda as available evidence proved that the accused stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife with intent to “kill”.

In a dramatic development, after the judge gave the guilty pronouncement, Sanda made attempt to run out of the courtroom as reactions followed with her relatives shouting in a dramatic attempt to draw public sympathy.What followed was a short break called for by the judge to restore calm. The sentence was delivered after the court resumed reading of the judgment.

Earlier in the case, counsel to the accused, Regina Okotie-Eboh, argued that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations, adding that the nurses or doctors from the hospital where the deceased was taken to were not called as witnesses in the case.

Also, Okotie-Ebor added that they failed to tender the knife with which the defendant allegedly used to perpetrate the act. One of the six witnesses called by the prosecution, Ibrahim Mohammed, told the court that the marriage between Maryam and late Bilyaminu reached the peak on the night of the incident.

Also, multiple court testimonies, including that of the accused, indicated that the criminal action was triggered by a heated argument between the couple. Sanda allegedly issued many threats to her husband, including threat to chop off his sex organ if he declined to grant her divorce.

Mohammed, who said he was with the late Bilayamin for over eight hours that night said the argument eventually degenerated into a fight. The witness said he tried disengaging Sanda’s hand from her husband’s neck before she rushed to break a bottle of groundnut on the wall and tried stabbing her husband with it.

“I held her hands and Bilyamin went behind her and collected the broken bottle from her. She said she would not stop until Bilyamin divorced her that night and that either he divorced her or she would cut his private part,” the witness said.

Mohammed added that Sanda went to the kitchen and picked a knife with which she attempted again to stab the deceased. The witness said the late husband sustained several cuts while trying to disarm his wife.

The witness said he left the house with another friend who he had called to help separate the fight, thinking that calm had been restored only to receive news of his friend’s death in the morning.