19 April 2018

Nigeria: Maryam Sanda Tried Several Times to Stab Husband Night Before Murder - Witness

A witness has narrated how Maryam Sanda allegedly made several attempts to stab her husband before his eventual murder.

Ms Sanda is standing trial for the alleged murder of Bilyamin Bello, who was her husband and son of former Peoples Democratic Party Chairman, Bello Haliru.

The witness, Ibrahim Mohammed, said he was with the deceased for over eight hours, the night before his death; and witnessed several attempts by the first defendant, Ms Sanda, to kill him.

According to Mr Mohammed, a friend of Bilayamin, Ms Sanda asked her husband for divorce and appeared bent on getting it that night.

The witness said she threatened several times to chop off his sex organ if he declined to give her freedom from their marriage.

Mr Mohammed told the court that while he was watching television with the deceased at the couple's residence that fateful day, he heard Ms Sanda calling her husband from upstairs.

"He went to meet her, but soon returned to the sitting room," said Mr Mohammed.

The witness further explained that the accused soon came herself to call her husband a second time in the sitting room.

"Soon after they returned upstairs, I heard noise coming from there. Maryam sent the fourth defendant to call me. When I got there I saw both of them holding each other to the throat.

"I enquired to know what was happening and asked them to stop fighting. The first defendant asked me to tell her husband to divorce her, but I asked her to take things calm. She said she was not going anywhere until he divorced her," Mr Mohammed told the court.

Mr. Mohammed said he tried disengaging Ms. Sanda's hand from her husband's neck. He added that shortly after separating the couple, the first defendant rushed to break a bottle of groundnut on the wall and tried stabbing her husband with it.

"She came straight at Bilyamin to stab him. I held her hands and Bilyamin went behind her and collected the broken bottle from her hands and went downstairs. I closed the door and continued to advise Maryam that they should stop fighting.

"She said she would not stop until Bilyamin divorced her that night; that either he divorced her or she would cut his private part.

"While pleading with her, Bilyamin entered the bedroom and Maryam followed him, insisting that he should divorce her that night but Bilyamin kept silent," Mr Mohammed said.

The witness narrated that the first defendant made another attempt to stab her husband after breaking another bottle of perfume, but her husband collected the bottle, pushed her to the bed and left the room.

"The first defendant then went to the kitchen and picked a knife with which she attempted again to stab the deceased," said the witness who added that Bilyamin collected the knife from the defendant but that she made three other attempts to collect the knife.

"She attempted picking the knife for about three or four times," he said.

At that point, the witness said he tried to make a number of calls. When one of those whom he called arrived the house, Mr Mohammed said he went with the deceased to treat the injury sustained from a bite inflicted upon him by Ms Sanda.

They later returned to the house and were subsequently joined by a third person who chatted briefly with them at the sitting room.

"When we returned, the first defendant was not at home. She later returned and started playing with the baby," added Mr Mohammed.

To avoid being seen as coming in-between the couples, the visitors decide to leave, the witness narrated. While leaving, Mr. Mohammed said he narrated what happened before his arrival to his friend who wondered why they left the house, given the violence between the couple.

Mr. Mohammed said they made further attempts to call the deceased on phone, without success.

Mr. Mohammed added that he later received a call from Bilyamin's brother that Bilyamin had been killed.

"I went to Maitama Hospital after that call and met Bilyaminu lying on a bed in front of the hospital. There was a hole in his chest near the heart, bite on his stomach. There was a cut on his thigh and there was a sign of stitching on him," he said.

During cross-examination, Mr. Mohammed told the court that the deceased was not badly injured before he left the house. He also said although Ms Sanda threatened to cut off her husband's sex organ, she never actually threatened to kill him.

The trial judge, Yusuf Halilu adjourned the matter to May 15.

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