By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
An Abuja High Court sitting at Jabi, on Friday, ordered the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, to transfer Maryam Sanda, wife of murdered son of erstwhile Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bilyamin Bello, to Suleja Prison.
Trial Justice Yusuf Halilu gave the remand order after Maryam was arraigned on a two-count charge of culpable homicide punishable by death under section 221 of the Penal Code Law.
In the charge marked CR/15/17 and dated November 20, and filed pursuant to section 109(d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Maryam was accused of stabbing her husband to death with a broken bottle on November 19 at their Abuja residence.
According to Police which filed the charge, Bilyamin died as a result of several stabs on his chest and neck.
Police told the court that the defendant attacked her husband with the knowledge that her act was likely to cause his death.
She was equally charged with the offence of “causing grievious hurt”, contrary to section 247 of the Penal Code Law.
The late Bilyaminu who is a real estate developer, was the son of ex-PDP Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Bello Haliru.
Meanwhile, Maryam who is a nursing mother, pleaded not giulty to the charge, even as she begged the court to release her on bail pending the trial.
The defendant, through her lawyer Mr. Useni Musa, prayed the court to consider her six-month old baby and grant her bail pending determination of the charge against her.
However, trial Justice Yusuf declined her plea which he said was improper in the eyes of the law.
The trial Judge said he could not release the defendant on bail on the strength of an oral application. He ordered the defence lawyer to approach the court with a formal bail request.
The court ordered that the defendant should be kept at Suleja Prison till December 7 when her full-blown trial will commence.
Meanwhile, Maryam who was brought to court alongside her six-month old baby girl wept uncontrollably immediately the court ordered her remand in prison custody.
The defendant who wore a red gown and covered her head with a green veil, tightly clutched her baby to her bossom as her stream of tears flowed.
She was subsequently moved out of the court by a team of armed police men and prison officials.
The defendant was previously in police detention.
The Federal Capital Territory Police Command had earlier obtained two weeks remand order against the defendant to enable it to conclude investigations on circumstances that led to Bilyaminu’s death.
The Command said it decided to retain Maryam in its custody instead of remanding her in prison considering the fact that she is nursing a baby.
Spririted effort by the defence lawyer to persuade the court to allow Maryam to remain with the police pending ruling on her bail application, failed on Friday.
Justice Yusuf insisted that once an accused was arraigned, he said the proper place of custody was the prison and not the custody of the investigating agency.
Meantime, the prosecutor, Mr. James Idachaba, told the court that the two-count charge was a product of a preliminary investigation.
Idachaba said the charge could still be amended owing to new facts he said emerged after further investigation was conducted on the matter.
The two-count charge against the defendant read: “That you, Maryam Sanda, female, adult of No.4 Pakali Close, Wuse 2 Abuja, on 19/11/2017 at about 0350hours at No.4 Pakali Close, Wuse 2 Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division, did commit the offence of culpable homicide punishable with death in that you caused the death of one Bilyaminu Bello Haliru, male adult of No. 40 Pakali Close, Wuse 2 Abuja by stabbing him on the chest with a broken bottle which eventually led to his death and you did so with the knowledge that your act is likely to cause his death.
“You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 221 of the Penal Code Law.
“That you, Maryam Sanda, female, adult of No.4 Pakali Close, Wuse 2 Abuja, on 19/11/2017 at about 0350hours at No.4 Pakali Close, Wuse 2 Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division, did commit the offence of causing grievous hurt in that you stabbed one Bilyaminu Bello Haliru, male adult of No. 40 Pakali Close, Wuse 2 Abuja with a broken bottle on the neck thereby endangering his life. You thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 240 (g) and punishable under Section 247 of the Penal Code Law.”