19 April 2018

Nigeria: How Maryam Sanda Threatened to Cut Off Her Husband's Manhood

The first prosecution witness in the ongoing trial in the alleged murder of Bilyamin Bello has narrated before an FCT High Court in Jabi incidents preceding the alleged murder.

Ibrahim Mohammed, a businessman and friend of the deceased told the court that the wife of the deceased, Maryam Sanda, who the police charged with the murder, attempted to stab the deceased multiple times on the night of November 18, 2017.

While being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, James Idachaba, the witness told the court that Maryam threatened on numerous occasions to cut off the manhood of the deceased unless she was divorced that night. He said he was with the deceased from around 3pm on November 18 to around 1am on November 19.

He said Bilyamin called him at about 3pm to meet him at a mechanic workshop where he (the deceased) took Maryam's car for repair, adding that they returned to the deceased house at about 7pm. He said while they were watching television and taking 'Shisha' in the sitting room, Maryam came to call her husband at about 8pm, adding that after a while, the deceased returned to the sitting room.

He said Maryam came down the second time to call the deceased and while they were upstairs he heard noises from upstairs before Maryam sent Sadiya (the fourth defendant) to call him. "When I got there, I saw both Maryam and Bilyaminu holding each other's cloth on the neck. I asked what was happening and pleaded that they stop this.

"Maryam told me to tell Bilyaminu to divorce her. I told her they should exercise patience and stop fighting. She said she was not going anywhere until he divorces her."

The witness said he had to use his hand to disengage Maryam's hands from the deceased's neck, adding that when he did this, the first defendant picked a groundnut bottle by the side of the door and broke it on the wall.

"She came straight to Bilyaminu to stab him. I held her hands and Bilyaminu 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 Bilyaminu divorce her that night; that either he divorces 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."

Muhammed said Maryam thereafter took one of the containers of scent and broke it on the table and approached Bilyamin to stab him but the deceased held her hand and collected the container and they started hitting each other, before Bilyamin pushed her to the bed and went downstairs but Maryam followed him downstairs.

He said at the sitting room downstairs, Maryam entered the kitchen and took a knife, which he said he collected from her hand, adding that she later took up a table knife, which he also collected from her hands. "She attempted picking the knife for about three or four times," he added.

The witness said he asked Sadiya to call both Maryam's mother and elder brother (who are both standing on trial for concealment of evidence together with Sadiya), but that Sadiya said she doesn't have their number, but she eventually called Maryam's younger brother, one Auta. He said he also called one Abba Bello, a brother to Bilyamin.

He said when Auta came; Bilyamin and him (Muhammed) left the house and went to Wuse 2 to treat the bite injury Bilyamin sustained on his fingers during the fights.

"Maryam was not in the house when we got there. We sat in the sitting room watching television. When she came back, she went upstairs and started to play with the baby," he said.

The witness said that one Usman Aliyu, a brother to the late Bilyaminu, later joined them in the sitting room and they watched television together.

He added that when Maryam came to the dining area and saw them, she went back and that at that point Usman Aliyu told him that they should leave so that the wife would not accuse them of holding her husband.

Before leaving the house, the witness informed that he gave the deceased his (witness's) phone as his own phone was damaged. He said Bilyaminu removed his SIM card and put it in Nokia 3310 given to him and left to perform ablution in the guest toilet.

Muhammed told the court that on leaving the house, his mind was not at rest so he told Usman Aliyu what had happened prior to his coming there, saying that Aliyu told him that if he had known there was a problem between the couple he would not have left the house.

He informed that based on Aliyu's advice, he called the deceased three times but he did not pick the calls, adding that when he later called back, Usman Aliyu, who had gone back said if the deceased finished his Isha'I prayer, he would call back.

After that, the witness told the court that Abbah Bello called him and asked for his brother but he (witness) told him that he had left Bilyaminu's house.

"Between 30 minutes and one hour later, Abbah called me that I should come to Maitama Hospital because Bilyaminu was dead. I went there 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.

He said both families of the couple were at the hospital, adding that they left from there to the police station after the corpse was taken to the mortuary. He added that while going to the station, Maryam's mother and brother (Maimuna Aliyu and Aliyu Sanda) with a policeman in their car diverted to the couple's house.

He added that Usman Aliyu told him that they should followed them to the house to see what was happening there, adding that Maimuna and Aliyu went upstairs, while the policeman was in front of the car.

"Usman Aliyu and I entered the sitting room and observed that everything was normal as we left it. When we looked at where Bilyaminu prayed, there was a pair of slippers and praying mat. On a closer look, we discovered that the window blind had come down."

Under cross-examination by counsel for the defendants: Joseph Daudu (SAN); Rotimi Ogunesan (SAN); A .T. Kehinde (SAN) and Olusegun Jolaawo, the witness told the court that he left the deceased performing ablution when he was leaving his house that night.

He declared that he did not have any knowledge of medicine and did not know the cause of Bilyaminu's death, saying that the deceased did not sustain any injuries when he collected the broken bottle from his wife.

Asked if the Maryam threatened to kill the deceased all through the fights, the witness said she did not state so, adding, however, that, "Maryam said she would cut his private part."

The trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, upon the conclusion of the evidence of the witness and based on consensus of parties adjourned the case to May 15 and 16 for continuation of hearing.

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