High Court of the Federal Capital
Territory, Jabi, yesterday, struck
out a fresh bail application filed
by Maryam Sanda, who is being
prosecuted for allegedly stabbing her
husband, Bilyamin Bello, to death, on
November 19, 2017.
Justice Yusuf Halilu had in a ruling
delivered on December 14, 2017
granted her three co-defendants bail,
but declined her plea for bail and
ordered her to be remanded in Suleja
prisons.
Justice Halilu ruled yesterday after
taking further arguments from the
prosecuting and defence lawyers
in addition to the submissions they
earlier made on Monday.
The judge held that the application
filed by Sanda constituted an abuse
of court process because she failed
to withdraw her notice of appeal
challenging the December 14, 2017
ruling declining her bail.
Sanda, a nursing mother, through
her lawyer, Mr. Joseph Daudu,
SAN, had founded her fresh bail
application filed on January 24 on the
fact that she had recently discovered
that she was three months pregnant.
She appeared with her face
characteristically covered with a
transparent cloth.
She held her baby of less than a
year old and was accompanied into
the courtroom by prison officials and
relatives.
Sanda is being prosecuted
alongside her mother, Maimuna
Aliyu; brother, Aliyu Sanda; and
their house help, Sadiya Aminu.
In the amended two counts
preferred against the four of them,
Maryam was accused in the first
count of committing culpable
homicide punishable by death under
Section 221 of the Penal Code.
She was accused of causing the
death of her husband who is the son
of a former Chairman of the Peoples
Democratic Party, Haliru Bello, “by
stabbing him on the chest and other
parts of the body with a knife and
other dangerous weapons, which
eventually led to his death.”
She allegedly stabbed the deceased
at their residence at no 4, Pakali Close,
Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on November
19, 2017 “with the knowledge that
his death would be probable and not
only the likely consequence of your
act.”
The three others were in the second
count specifically accused of causing
the “evidence of the offence to
disappear by cleaning the blood from
the scene of crime with the intention
of screening one Maryam Sanda
from legal punishment.”
The trio’s offence is punishable
under Section 167 of the Penal Code.
Justice Halilu had earlier taken
the lawyers’ submissions on the
fresh application on Monday when
Sanda’s lawyer argued that the
discovery that she was pregnant was
sufficient reason to grant her bail.
Idachaba opposed the bail
application after which the judge
fixed yesterday for ruling. But he
said after he adjourned for ruling
on Monday that he discovered that
Sanda’s notice of appeal filed on
December 28, 2017 to challenge the
earlier ruling of the court declining
her bail.
He asked the prosecution and the
defence to address him on whether
the motion for bail filed on January
24 did not constitute an abuse of
court process in view of the notice of
appeal still pending in the court’s file.
In response, Daudu argued that
the application did not constitute
an abuse of court process because it
was technically dead since it had not
been processed within the time limit
allowed by law.
But Idachaba maintained that as
much as there had not been any
application filed before the Court of
Appeal withdrawing the notice of
appeal and was still valid as of the
time of filing the fresh application
on January 24, the said application
constituted an abuse of court process
and deserved to be struck out.
Justice Halilu, in his ruling, agreed
with Idachaba.
The judge held that it would
amount to toeing “a path of
destruction” to rule on the merit of
the fresh application for bail when
the applicant’s notice of appeal
challenging the earlier decision of the
court on the same subject matter
of bail was still pending before a
higher court, the Court of Appeal.
He said as much as he “sincerely
appreciated and understood”
Daudu’s distinction between filing
and entering an appeal, “it is easier
for a camel to pass through the eye
of a needle than for his (Daudu’s)
argument to sway this court.”
“The argument has not in any
way swayed me. The application
is liable to be struck out and it is
accordingly struck out.”
After the ruling, the applicants
said they had brought four
witnesses to court and were ready
for commencement of trial as
directed by the court on Monday.
But Daudu notified the court that
he had an application challenging
the jurisdiction of the court to
hear the case on the basis that the
office of the attorney-general of the
federation is yet to give an opinion
on the case before the charges were
filed by the police.
Idachaba, who maintained
that the Supreme Court had long
settled the issue, argued that the
police could competently initiate
such charges without the opinion
of the attorney-general of the
federation or the Director of Public
Prosecution.
But the judge directed Idachaba
to respond to the issues and
fixed March 19 for hearing and
commencement of trial.

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