Bilyamin Bello, the son of a former Peoples Democratic Party Chairman Haliru Bello, was on Saturday allegedly stabbed to death by his wife, Maryam Sanda…. in the neck and chest while he slept in the bedroom at their home in Maitama, Abuja. ~Sahara Reporters, 19th Nov., 2017
In case you didnt know, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended 2011) is the highest law in Nigeria. If any law is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, that law is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency. I refer to Section 1(3) of the Constitution.
Section 36(5) of the Constitution provides, in clear terms that, ‘any person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty.’
In the eyes of the law, Maryam Sanda is innocent until she is proved guilty. The question here is, who proves her guilt? You? The answer is in the negative. It is the prosecution that bears the responsibility of proving the guilt of the accused.
The standard of proof in criminal matter is beyond reasonable doubt. This means, where there is any doubt, it will be resolved in favour of the accused.
In the instant case, there is no eye witness. Except if she decided to make a confession, the entire evidence will be circumstantial. That is to say the court will rely on evidence of circumstances to either convict or acquit the accused.
Based on facts and circumstances available at the moment, can we be safe to say that Maryam Sanda killed Bilyamin Adamu?
One Mustapha Dikko, a friend to the couple said: “We were with them at their resistance at Pension Estate, Pankali Close, Wuse 2, Abuja till late in the evening when she continued shouting on top of her voice that he must divorce her because she alleged that he was chatting with his girlfriends and we mediated.
“When we left, after one hour later, we were informed that he had died as a result of several stabs in chest and abdomen. ~Daily Trust, Monday, November 20, 2017 @ p.22.
From the above newspaper testimony of Mr. Dikko, we know that apart from the wife, some other persons (I refer to the word ‘we’) including Mustapha Dikko were with the deceased an hour before he was killed.
Think about it. Is it not possible that someone, among the persons present who might have an issue with the deceased, remained behind or came back to kill the deceased for the wife to be accused because she had a fight with him?
OK. Let me clarify. Is it not possible that, someone who had the intention of killing the deceased due to some reasons known to him, decided to kill him and cover it up with the fight the deceased had with his wife?
If at all there is doubt, it will be resolved in favour of Maryam.
Maryam drove the deceased to Maitama hospital where he was confirmed dead. ~ibid.
Another question here is, is it not possible that Maryam came to the parlour and found her beloved husband down and decided to take him to the hospital? Does this cast a doubt in your mind? If yes, then that doubt will be resolved in favour of Maryam.
It is also possible that the deceased was not happy that he had an issue with his wife in front of his friends. And as a result, he decided to end his life. So, he took a sharp knife and stabbed himself. The wife heard him scream and rushed down to help him. When she came, he was in blood. She tried to remove the knife from him, so her finger prints are on the knife.
There are a lot of shadows of doubt to be resolved in favour of the accused.
Do not be too quick to judge. Justice is a three-way trafficking, one for the victim’s family, one for the accused and one for the public. No one was there when it all happened. So, let us stay intelligent, despite our education.
***The writer, Sani Ammani Esq. is a Lawyer, Poet, Historian, Writer and Activist