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The Nigerian Police Force, yesterday, alleged before an Abuja High Court at Jabi that family members of Maryam Sanda, wife of murdered son of erstwhile Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bilyamin Bello, attempted to hide evidence against her.

Police, in an amended two-count charge it filed before the court, alleged that Maryam’s mother, Maimuna Aliyu and her brother, Aliyu Sanda, upon realizing that an offence of culpable homicide was committed, “did cause evidence of the offence to disappear”.

It said the duo, with the help of one Sadiya Aminu, carefully cleaned the blood from the scene of the crime with the intention of screening the 1st defendant, Maryam from legal punishment.

According to the prosecution, the three persons involved in the scrubbing-off of murdered Bilyamin’s blood, by their action, committed an offence punishable under section 167 of the Penal Code Law. Consequently, Police re-arraigned Maryam alongside her mother, brother and Aminu, before trial Justice Yusuf Halilu yesterday.
Whereas Maryam was in the count-one of the charge marked CR/15/17, which Police filed pursuant to section 109(d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, was accused of stabbing her husband to death with a broken bottle on November 19 at their Abuja residence.

The three others were in count-two, charged with causing evidence of the crime to disappear.

The prosecution told the court that Bilyamin died as a result of several stabs on his chest and neck.

Police maintained that the defendant attacked her husband with the knowledge that her act was likely to cause his death. Meanwhile, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as they begged the court through their lead counsel, Mr. J.B. Daudu, SAN, to release them on bail pending the determination of the case against them.

While Daudu, SAN, stressed that allegation against Maryam’s family members was a bailable one, he pleaded the court to consider the well-being of the 1st defendant’s six-month-old baby and grant her bail pending the trial.

Besides, the defence lawyer tendered a medical certificate he said showed that Maryam was suffering from a serious ailment.

He told the court that all the defendants were anxious for the trial to commence so that they could establish their innocence.

However, in his ruling, Justice Halilu declined to release the alleged ‘killer wife’ on bail.

The Judge ordered that she should remain in Suleja prison until February 5, 2018, when a full-blown hearing was scheduled to begin in the case.

Justice Halilu held that the defence lawyer failed to place sufficient material before the court to show that the undisclosed ailment the 1st defendant was suffering from could not be treated in prison.

Nevertheless, the court granted bail to the three other defendants, saying they must, however, produce two sureties each.

The court held that the sureties must show evidence that they are resident within the Abuja city center, as well as deposit title deed of their landed properties.

Besides, the defendants were asked to surrender all their travelling documents to the court.

It will be recalled that the court had on November 24, remanded Maryam in prison after she was arraigned on a two-count charge of culpable homicide punishable by death under section 221 of the Penal Code Law.

BIG STORY

Diezani Removed $70m From NNPC In 12 Bags —– Ex-NNPC GMD

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos heard on Thursday that in 2015, a former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke ordered the removal of $70 million from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 12 padlocked bags.

A former NNPC Group General Manager told Justice Muslim Hassan that he delivered the bags to an Abuja-based banker on Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s instructions.

He testified that he and others “had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath of office to obey directives and authority”.

The former GGM appeared as a prosecution witness in the trial of a former Executive Director of a top commercial bank, Dauda Lawal.

Lawal is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N928,000,000

The commission accused him of handling $25 million out of $153 million, which the former minister allegedly doled out to influence the 2015 general elections.

The trial opened on Thursday with the ex-NNPC GGM appearing as the first prosecution witness.

Led in evidence by EFCC Prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness narrated how he delivered the cash-laden bags to the Abuja banker, identified simply as Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

The witness said: “My lord, as I can remember, shortly before the 2015 elections, it was the norm for heads of subsidiaries (of the NNPC) to be invited for an undisclosed briefing of activities of their departments to the minister.

“At the end of such briefings, the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, gave me a GSM number in respect of one Charles, whom I had never met, with a clear instruction that I should convey 12 padlocked bags to the said Charles.

“My lord, the source, the content, and the purpose of the bags were not disclosed to me.

“Thereafter, I called the said Charles, who equally confirmed to me that he had been briefed about the message. I delivered the bags to Charles.

“Much later, my lord, the EFCC invited me for interrogation on the issue and I made a statement to that effect.

“Charles equally confirmed at the EFCC that he received the 12 padlocked bags and the bags contained $70 million.”

Under cross-examination by the defense counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.

Justice Hassan adjourned till July 21, 22, and 23 for the continuation of trial.

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Afenifere Demands Sack Of Education Minister For Stopping School Resumption

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The pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere has condemned the decision of the Federal Government that schools should remain closed in the country until further notice.

The group called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (red.), to sack the minister of education for planning to ground education for a year.

The Secretary-General of the association, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, said the Federal Government should have allowed pupils to resume and find means of protecting them against coronavirus disease.

He said, “Adamu Adamu should be sacked, he cannot bring our school system back to the stone age. They had about six months to plan for these children what did the Federal Government do?

“It means the two of them (Adamu and the Minister of State for Education) don’t know what they are doing, so they should go. I think the two ministers in the ministry should go. Why would one say the pupils should resume taking their paper in August and the other minister would come and reverse the order?”

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BIG STORY

Magu Quizzed Over 380 Houses, 7 Crude Oil-Laden Ships, N37bn Assets

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The embattled Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was on Wednesday confronted with more allegations.

The Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential panel asked him to account for 380 houses and seven vessels loaded with crude oil.

The probe panel also grilled on him on the disposal of assets worth N37 billion.

Magu is being grilled, following allegations raised against him by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami(SAN).

The panel started quizzing Magu on Monday after his arrest by detectives in Abuja. On Tuesday, he was grilled on cash discrepancies said to be N539 billion realized from the sale of seized assets and N504 billion declared by the commission.

Both issues are part of the over 20 allegations leveled against the anti-graft agency chairman by the AGF.

It was also gathered, on Wednesday, that on the ground floor of the Federal Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, Area 10, Abuja, where the EFCC boss is being held, his family members are allowed to visit him.

A Presidency source had said, on Tuesday, that the probe was an affirmation that nobody under the present administration was above scrutiny.

The source had also explained that the interrogation of the anti-graft boss was being done to give him the opportunity to clear himself of the weighty allegations.

It was gathered that Magu was brought to the venue at about 11:14 am from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, building where he had been held since Monday. He was also joined by his lawyer at the panel for interrogation.

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