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Lessons from Maryam Sanda’s murder conviction

The trial of Maryam Sanda, which generated a lot of interest both within and outside the country, came to a dramatic conclusion on January 27,…

The trial of Maryam Sanda, which generated a lot of interest both within and outside the country, came to a dramatic conclusion on January 27, 2019, when Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court convicted her of murder and sentenced her to death by hanging.

Maryam Sanda was arraigned before the court on Nov 23, 2019, for the murder of her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, in their house in Wuse Abuja, on November 19, 2019 following a domestic dispute.

She was said to have stabbed the deceased to death after being enraged by a picture of a woman she saw in the deceased’s phone.

Maryam was arraigned alongside her mother, Maimuna Aliyu, brother Aliyu Sanda and her maid Sadiya Aminu, who were accused of destroying evidence. The three were, however, discharged following a no-case submission.

In convicting and sentencing her the Justice Halilu  said he was in no doubt that the defendant “has not just failed but woefully failed to explain the death of the deceased bearing in mind her discredited colourfully dressed evidence.

“I am more than convinced that the defendant fatally stabbed the deceased with the same knife she threatened him with which she has also mentioned in her statement to the police with the full knowledge was not just probable or certain.’’

Maryam has still two avenues, at the Appael Court and Supreme Court, to explore to get the sentenced quashed.

However, beyond the legal passages Maryam’s conviction brought to fore the issue of rising cases of disputes between married couples, which often led to fatal consequences.

According to investigation by this paper now fewer than 53 spouses have been killed by their partners from November 19, 2019, when the Maryam’s incident happened, to date.

This is alarming which calls for not only a reflection but  an urgent move to find the causes and how to remedy to this dangerous trend.

From the reports it seemed that most of these disputes were the result of new communication technology, especially the GSM.  Couples now make it a duty to peruse the telephone of their partners to see who they interact with. Where they found any strange name of the opposite sex on the phone questions are asked and tempers often rise.

There is, therefore, the need for couples to exercise strong restrain or completely desist from this habit and respect each other’s privacy. Where they suspect cheating by their partner they must resist temptation to violence.

It is also pertinent for parents on both sides to advise their children going into marriage on the best conduct. Often young people go into marriage without knowledge of how to handle delicate situations. They should be advised on how to interact with their partners and to report to the elders where the situation has become more serious.

We also feel that the clergy must also intensify the education of couples going into marriage and their parents. Often situations get worse because parents do not even understand their roles. Rather they take side with their children which further complicates the situation.

On the whole, the society must come to terms with this rising ugly trend and come together to find a lasting solution. This must be done without further delay.


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