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Maryam Sanda, who allegedly stabbed her husband, Bilyamin Bello, to death on November 19, 2017, says she is three months pregnant.

She spoke at the resumed hearing of the case against her at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Jabi, Abuja, through her counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN).

Daudu informed the court of the development on Monday while moving a fresh bail application which he filed on her behalf.

It was the second time she would be asking for bail since she was first arraigned before the court on November 24, 2017, on charges of culpable homicide.

On December 14, 2017, the trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, rejected her initial bail application.

Following an amended to the original charges which had only Sanda as the sole defendant, three others – her mother, Maimuna Aliyu; brother, Aliyu Sanda; and another person, Sadiya Aminu – were joined as co-defendants.

In the amended two counts preferred against the four of them, Maryam was accused in the first count of committing culpable homicide punishable by death under section 221 of the Penal Code Act.

She was accused of causing the death of her husband, Bilyamin Bello, who was said to be a son of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Haliru Bello,“by stabbing him on the chest and other parts of the body with a knife and other dangerous weapons which eventually led to his death.”

She allegedly stabbed the deceased at their residence at 4, Pakali Close, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on November 19, 2017, “with the knowledge that his death would be the probable and not only the likely consequence of your act.”

The three others were in the second count, specifically accused of causing the “evidence of the offence to disappear” by “cleaning the blood from the scene of crime with the intention of screening one Maryam Sanda from legal punishment.”

The trio’s offence was said to be punishable under section 167 of the Penal Code Act.

On December 14, 2017, Justice Halilu, ruling on a bail application filed on behalf of four of the defendants, refused to grant bail to Sanda but granted to the three others.

However, at the resumed hearing on Monday, the lead defence counsel, Daudu, said there was a new development warranting the filing of a fresh bail application on behalf of Sanda.

Daudu said the new application dated January 25, 2018 was filed on January 26, 2018 praying for an order granting the first defendant bail.

“My lord, the new fact is that she is three months pregnant and I have done my research,” Daudu told the court.

He urged the court to grant her client bail while assuring the judge that she would attend her trial.

He said, “Apart from issue of blood pressure, pregnancy is a thing that comes with complicating issues. I urge the court to exercise its discretion under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and grant the defendant bail.”

But in response, the police prosecuting counsel, Mr. James Idachaba, told the court that the defence had not adduced sufficient evidence for the bail application to be granted.

He said he had filed a counter-affidavit of 12 paragraphs in opposition to the bail application.

Justice Halilu fixed Tuesday (today) for ruling and ordered the prosecution to call its first witness.

However, the defence counsel raised another issue, arguing that the matter ought to have been commenced by a police First Information Report and not a charge.

He added that the matter also ought to have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice as provided for by Section 105(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The prosecuting counsel, Idachaba, however, said it was too late in the day for the defence to object since the pleas of the defendant had already been taken.

Idachaba added that section 221 of the ACJA provided that, “Objections shall not be taken or entertained during proceedings or trial on the grounds of an imperfect or erroneous charge.”

He also said, “We never came to this court on the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation, we came as of right.”

He explained that the constitution and the ACJA allowed the police to proceed with criminal trial without recourse to the DPP or the AGF.

Justice Halilu Halilu agreed with the prosecutor, saying the ACJA allowed the judge to hear all applications such as that and deliver ruling at the end of the matter.

The judge, however, adjourned the matter till February 7 for definite hearing.

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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