Prosecution Lawyer, Fidelis Ogbebe presented three additional witnesses to prove Maryam Sanda guilty of murder as her trial resumed in Abuja on Thursday.
Maryam was accused by the police of killing her husband, Bilyamin Bello, son of former Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bello Halliru Muhammad.
She was docked alongside her brother, Aliyu Sanda, her mother, Maimuna Aliyu and one Sadiya, who were accused of assisting her to conceal the evidence by cleaning the blood of the deceased from the scene of the crime. They pleaded not guilty.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, one of the witnesses, Hamza Abdullahi, identified as a laundry man close to the house Maryam and her deceased husband lived testified that he was called to the scene of the crime by the deceased and when he got there, he found him clutching his chest.
“I asked him what happened to him but he could not respond. He held a shirt and covered his chest with it. I then called Ayuba. When Ayuba came, we tried to raise him up but we couldn’t. We then called Mr Alabi. That was when Bilyaminu’s wife (Maryam) came out of the house and asked us to help her take him into the car. When we raised him up, we discovered that the floor was full of blood,” he said.
Abdullahi said the deceased was first taken to Maitama Clinic and that when they got there, the doctor on duty asked Maryam severally what had happened to her husband but she did not respond.
He said that due to Sanda’s refusal to explain the cause of her husband’s state of health, the doctor asked them to take the deceased to another hospital. And in order not to waste time, they quickly took the deceased to Maitama General Hospital.
Abdullahi, who was testifying as the second prosecution witness, told the court that doctors at the general hospital equally asked the wife what had happened to her husband, but this time, Sanda explained what happened to the deceased.
“She said they were fighting since morning, adding that she took a knife and her husband was trying to collect the knife from her and the knife mistakenly stabbed him,” he said.
Another witness, ASP Samuel Okon, told the court that he got a distress call from Maitama General Hospital on November 19, 2017 at about 3:45am, adding that he was told that a lady was there with the lifeless body of her husband.
“On arrival, I saw Maryam standing close to the body of her husband. The body of the man was covered with a veil. I removed the veil and took some photographs. I also took custody of the accused person by handing her over to my colleagues,” he stated.
He said while the body of the deceased was taken to the mortuary for preservation for autopsy, Maryam was taken to the police station where she volunteered her statement.
In her statement, she wrote that she had a misunderstanding with her husband. She claimed that she broke Shisha bottle and because the floor was slippery, he fell on the broken bottle,” ASP Okon said.
He added that he later visited the scene of the crime and saw some broken bottle in the sitting room but there was no stain of blood where she claimed the fighting took place.
“I came back to the office to prepare for autopsy but the relatives of the deceased put up an application, demanding for the release of the corpse for burial according to Islamic tradition. The corpse was released to them,” he stated.
Under cross examination, the police officer said he did not recover any other thing from the scene of crime apart from broken bottles.
The third witness, Usman Aliyu, said when they were coming from the hospital that night, they saw Maryam’s mother, Maimuna heading for the house of the couple, instead of going to the police station.
Testifying as the fourth prosecution witness, Aliyu said he and one Alhassan (first prosecution witness) followed her to the house where they met a policeman with one other person outside.
“When we entered inside, Maryam’s mother and elder brother, Aliyu were upstairs. We discovered that the Shisha pot was in order. The curtain had fallen down,” he said.
He added that they later went to Maitama Police Station, saying that at about 6:30am, the police asked that they should all go to the house and that when they got to the house, they “found out that the Shisha pot had been broken. The flower vase in the parlour was also broken.”
The witness informed that he learnt that Maryam wrote in her statement to the police that Bilyaminu fell on the broken Shisha pot.
Meanwhile, the trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu had adjourned the case to November 26 for continuation of hearing.
Sanda and the other accused are facing a two-count charge for the alleged offence.
The charge was brought pursuant to sections 221 and 167 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and Penal Code respectively.
Sanda is accused in the first charge of allegedly stabbing her husband of two years multiple times with the aim of killing him. The offence is punishable with death.