Maryam Sanda to Appeal Death Sentence

•Justice was served, says co-convener of BBOG

Enumah and Udora Orizu in

Mrs. Maryam Sanda, who was on Monday sentenced to by hanging for killing her husband, appeal the judgment, a member of his legal has told THISDAY.
Justice Halilu of the of the (FCT) had given her the maximum sentence for killing her husband, Mr. Bilyaminu Bello.

, some and civil activists have condemned the death penalty, describing it as unacceptable.
But another activist and co-convener of #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) movement, Mrs. Aisha Yesufu, welcomed the death penalty, saying that it was not only an adequate punishment but also that justice had been served in the case.

The had arraigned her on a two-count charge bordering on .
In the judgment delivered, the held that was circumstantial evidence coupled with the defendant’s testimony and statement to the that she “fatally” stabbed her husband to death in Abuja on November 19, 2017.
The judge while stating that the offence for which the defendant was convicted was based on Section 221 of the Penal Code imposed the maximum sentence.

“It has been said that thou shall not kill. Whoever kills in blood shall die in blood,” the judge said, adding: “Maryam Sanda should reap what she has sown. It is blood for blood.”
However, reacting to the judgment yesterday, one of the , who spoke off the record, said they would on appeal against the judgment.

“She has a constitutional right of appeal and definitely she has to it,” he said, adding: “We will definitely appeal the judgment.”
Sanda killed her husband on November 19, 2017, through multiple stabbing.
She was arraigned alongside three persons, including her mother and brother.
However, the others were discharged because the prosecution was unable to link them to the charges.
The late Bello is a son of a former national of the Peoples (), Alhaji Haliru Bello.

Activists Condemn Death Penalty

Some women and civil rights activists have condemned the death penalty given to Sanda, describing it as unacceptable.
In a conversation with THISDAY, an activist and of Women Advocates and Documentation Centre, Mrs. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, condemned the ’s ruling.

Though she agreed that anyone found guilty of such conduct should be punished, she said death penalty was condemnable.
She said: “It’s a very unfortunate situation, killing of a spouse whether a man or woman is condemnable and anyone found guilty of such conduct should be punished, as deterrence.

The should have zero tolerance to -based violence. “However, death penalty is condemnable. I think maximum sentence in this instance is not the option given the background of the offence. The should shift from the of death penalty; it is no longer acceptable, it has not served the purpose it was meant in the .”

Corroborating Akiyode-Afolabi’s comment, and Director of Citizens for and Economic Rights (CASER), Mr. Frank Tietie, said Sanda should not have been given the maximum punishment.

Tietie in a phone conversation with THISDAY hinged his claim on the possibility of defendant being mentally unstable during the the was committed and the defence team not doing enough to explore the possible defences available to the woman.
He added that must move beyond being a retentionist country in these times and realise that death penalty does not solve problems.

According to him, “Mental incapacity is something that should have been brought to the court and with the use of expert witness to prove that she’s not mentally capable of organising herself in such a state of frustration.

“Firstly, for someone to want to kill her husband is an expression of abnormality; it’s not quite natural. I suspect that her was something to be questioned, which should have been brought before the court. If to argue that the woman did not do it, it’s a different thing but to say that she did it, her set was not in control of her mental faculty as at the time she did it because of the marital trauma she must have been exposed to which was prolonged and eventually led to pent-up and she was also left unattended to by relatives and .”

He expressed that Sanda has a window for appeal both at the and Supreme Court.
He said: “It’s my hope that some pieces of evidence will be introduced.

“Even by , death penalty is barbaric; Pistorius wasn’t given maximum sentence not to talk about this kind of culpable that was done based on crime of passion. What led her to committing those should have been brought to the court.”
But activist and co-convener of #BringBackOurGirls, Yesufu, believed that justice was served.

She, however, tasked the judiciary to also apply the same in ensuring that everyone gets justice regardless of one’s or gender.

She said: “For me basically the case is simple. Maryam Sanda was found guilty of killing her husband and of course justice has been served. My take out from this is that if the judiciary system can be very strict in ensuring that get justice, a lot of that happen in Nigeria, we wouldn’t see them happening.

“People won’t have any to take the laws into their hands and feel that they can do anything and get away with it. No matter who are, have to pay for your crimes no matter your gender, or status. It’s all a tragic ending for the families involved but it’s what it is, justice has been served.”

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